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Florida News

Families could be headed for disaster over unpaid rent during COVID-19

Sun Sentinel, July 31, 2020, Ron Hurtibise

Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work and underemployed tenants, unable to pay past-due rents, are in danger of being thrown to the streets in Florida — not today, not next week, but at some point soon when the state’s governor decides enough is enough.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest extension of the state’s eviction moratorium — this time to Sept. 1 — merely delays an inevitable day of reckoning, according to advocates for both renters and landlords.

When that comes, judges will begin signing stacks of eviction orders, sheriff’s deputies will begin serving notices to vacate, and an alarming number of families will be forcibly removed from their homes with nowhere else to go.

Landlords will see their investments go into default and get repossessed by lenders. Hedge funds will swoop in like vultures, scooping up properties for pennies on the dollar.

The only way to avoid this doomsday scenario, advocates say, is for Congress and the president to approve billions of dollars in assistance — not loans, but grants, much like the forgivable Payment Protection Program loans that have been made available for businesses that promised to keep employees on their payrolls through the first weeks of the shutdown.

Full article...


Limited Extension of Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction relief

Executive Order, June 30, 2020, Secretary of State

An Executive Order from the Governor Ron Desantis was signed June 30, extending the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until August 1, 2020.

Exec Order 20-159


Governor Approves 2020-21 State Budget

Florida Government News Releases, June 29, 2020, Staff

Today, the Governor signed HB 5001 – General Appropriations Act (“Budget”) – into law. The overall budget totals $92.2 billion, with over $1 billion in vetoes to supplant losses in revenue due to the COVID-19 health pandemic.  The area of Affordable Housing received 2020-21 Fiscal Year funding as follows:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • $145 million to fund Workforce and Affordable Housing Programs. 

    • $115 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program

    • $30 million for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program. 

$225 million of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) fund was vetoed. However, last week the Governor appropriated $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be two funding pools totaling up to $240 million and sets aside up to $10 million in expected operational costs for the program. Below is a summary of how funds are to be allocated:

Rental Assistance for Affordable Rental Housing Tenants

$120 million will provide short-term rental assistance for COVID-19 impacted households residing at multifamily rental properties in FHFC’s portfolio. 

  • FHFC will reimburse participating properties to subsidize eligible households’ rents for each impacted month. 
  • The rental assistance will be available to help pay a household’s rent for eligible months from July through December 2020. 
  • The household may be eligible for assistance to pay rent arrearages accrued during the months of April, May and June 2020.

Rent and Mortgage Assistance

A separate pool of $120 million will be released to counties based on a county’s reemployment assistance rate for the determined disbursement period. The allocation also includes $200,000 for technical assistance to local governments. These funds would be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as:

  • New construction.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Mortgage buydowns.
  • Down payment.
  • Closing cost assistance.
  • Emergency repairs. 
  • Homeownership counseling for individuals impacted by COVID-19. 

Operations Assistance for Special Needs Developments and Administrative Costs

  • A one-time allocation of $2 million will be provided to assist with past and future costs related to additional staffing, security and supplies directly related to COVID-19 in serving special needs and homeless households residing in the supportive housing developments. The allocation will be based on each development’s total number of units.
  • Additionally, $8 million will be provided in expected administrative costs, including credit underwriting, disbursement review and processing, compliance monitoring and technical assistance. Funds not used for administration, if any, would be added to Rental Assistance and/or Operations Assistance for Special Needs Developments.

Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Extended to Sep. 1

Executive Order, July 29, 2020, Secretary of State

An Executive Order from the Governor Ron Desantis was signed July 29, extending the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until September 1, 2020.

Exec Order 20-180


Statement on veto of Sadowski housing trust funds

Member newsletter, June 29, 2020, Sadowski Affiliates

SHIP funding was vetoed from Florida budget, CARES Act funding directed to rental and mortgage assistance. 

Sadowski Affiliates statement...


Governor Ron DeSantis Announces $250 Million for Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative

Florida Government News Releases, June 25, 2020, Staff

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many families across our state have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 through no fault of their own,” said Governor DeSantis. “This initiative strives to provide financial assistance through multiple affordable housing programs to ensure these Floridians receive the support they need during this difficult time.”

“Florida Housing is grateful for the Governor’s strong support of housing and the programs proposed to give renters and homeowners impacted by COVID-19 the relief they desperately need,” said Florida Housing Finance Corporation Executive Director Trey Price. “The Governor and Florida Housing stand together in guaranteeing Florida households stay a priority, and ensuring families have the necessary assistance and tools in place to remain in their homes affordably during this public health emergency.”

The initiative includes two funding pools totaling up to $240 million and sets aside up to $10 million in expected operational costs for the program.

Full story...


South Florida rents are declining as coronavirus chases tenants away from downtowns

Sun Sentinel, June 20, 2020, David Lyons

The coronavirus pandemic might be chasing people away from living on top of each other in apartments.

Rents are gradually declining, suggesting that tenants are looking elsewhere for room to work at home and stay healthy.

In 30 South Florida cities, the rent for 62% of one-bedroom units are either flat or declining, according to Zumper, a national apartment search firm. The percentage increases to 69% for two-bedroom prices.


Gov. Ron DeSantis extends Florida’s evictions ban for one more month to July 1

Sun Sentinel, June 2, 2020, David Lyons and Brooke Baitinger

Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended a ban on residential evictions in Florida for another month. 

Tenants and landlords statewide had anxiously waited for a decision from the governor on Monday as to whether he would extend a moratorium for a second time since it was invoked in early April.

He acted late Monday by setting a new expiration date for 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

Full story...


Florida Housing Unveils Redesigned Affordable Rental 
Housing Locator

Newsletter, April 30, 2020, Florida Housing

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) unveiled the redesign of the statewide online affordable rental housing locator called FloridaHousingSearch.org. The locator is part of Florida Housing’s ongoing effort to respond to affordable rental housing needs in general as well as during natural disasters. While there has been no change to the locator’s services it provides and it is still free, the new design is more user and mobile-friendly making it easier for affordable housing developments to list their vacancies and for consumers to find them.

Newsletter release...


Shimberg Center launches COVID-19 resource, data pages

News Highlights, April 10, 2020, UF Shimbert Center

Today the Shimberg Center launched two new Web pages with information about COVID-19 and housing in Florida. COVID-19: Workforce and Housing Indicators provides county-by-county data on housing cost burdens, older populations, children’s access to Internet and health insurance, worker counts in hard-hit service industries, and subsidized housing sites eligible for new tenant protections under the federal CARES Act. COVID-19 & Housing Resources describes the data and provides links to relevant news articles and housing resources from our partners. Check back frequently for updates to both pages, and send us suggestions or custom data requests to fhdc-comments@shimberg.ufl.edu.


Sadowski funding is finally fully restored

Member newsletter, March 7, 2020, Sadowski Affiliates

The Florida House agreed to the Florida Senate’s budget position to use all affordable housing trust fund monies for affordable housing during the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year.

Sadowski Affiliates statement...


Florida 2020 Session - Week 3 Legislative Alert!

On Thursday, January 30th the House and Senate released their budget proposals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-2021. The House proposed a $91.37 billion budget while the Senate proposed $92.83 billion. The proposals are expected to be heard by their respective chambers on Wednesday, February 12th. Once the budgets are approved by their respective Chambers, the budget conference process will begin to reconcile the $1.46 billion difference. The House’s proposed budget can be found here and the Senate’s proposed budget can be found here. 

The Senate proposed budget fully funds affordable housing, which concurs with the Governor’s Recommendations. However, the House proposed to fund a separate $25 million Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and sweep $240 million of affordable housing dollars. Below is the comparison between the budgets: 

​Program
House​​Senate
​State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL)
​$48,000,000
$119,800,000​
​State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
$73,200,000​​$267,200,000
​Hurricane Housing Recovery Program  
​$25,000,000
​$0
​TOTAL
​$146,200,000
​$387,000,000


NEWS AND UPDATES