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February 28, 2020
African-American Research
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Seminar Room 2
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Florida 2020 Session - Week 3 Legislative Alert! [top]

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: 

​State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL)
​State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
​Hurricane Housing Recovery Program  

America's Rental Housing 2020 [top]

It has become harder than ever for middle-income Americans to pay the rent, according to a new report produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.  

Overview: Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the US remain extremely tight. Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes. Both the number and share of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, especially among middle-income households. These conditions reflect fundamental market changes since the recession, including an influx of higher-income households, constraints on new supply, and substantial losses of low-cost rentals.  REPORT...

Reducing Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing in Broward County [top]

February 3, 2020

In December of 2019, the HUD-led White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing engaged ULI to convene a focus group to identify tenets in zoning and land use regulations across Broward County and its municipalities that increase the cost of the development of affordable housing.  A focus group of affordable housing stakeholder experts--including developers, attorneys, planners, and housing advocates, from ULI Southeast Florida/Caribbean convened to meet with senior HUD  staff in order to identify and assess regulatory barriers to affordable housing in the county.  REPORT...

Controversial Changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) [top]

A significant rewrite of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is underway which may fundamentally change how the financial institutions are required to invest in low to moderate income communities. Some of the proposed changes are generating controversy, with headlines such as: “Financing for Sports Stadiums Could Count as Helping the Poor” (Bloomberg) and “FDIC bid to overhaul anti-redlining law sparks protest” (Politico).  

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) have issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) [Memo to the Board of Directors | Summary & Highlights | Full Text].  It proposes changes in 4 (four) key areas: 

  1. What qualifies for CRA credit; 
  2. Where CRA activity counts; 
  3. What method should be used to measure CRA activity; 
  4. And how banks should collect, record, and report data.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, interested parties and organizations will have 60-days to file public comments. 

Here are some reactions to the proposed Rulemaking: 

A New Home [top]

​Above: Keenila Spiller, left, greets Anna Jaime, of Continental Development Holding, and Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich at a ribbon cutting for Spiller’s new affordable rental home in Fort Lauderdale. Continental Development Holding, a newly launched Miami-based developer, plans to build more affordable housing units throughout the tricounty area, including single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes and duplexes in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale in 2020. 

​Right: Beatrice Bray and Spiller stand in Spiller’s new affordable rental home in Fort Lauderdale.

Photos courtesy of:    
Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel photos

Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments (re: Affordable Housing Policies) [top]

On November 5, 2019, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners (Board) voted on four (4) motions to initiate amendments to Land Use Plan (LUP) policies and transmit them to the Broward County Planning Council for consideration.

  • PCT 20-3 Bonus Density Text Amendment proposes to amend Policy 2.16.3 to increase the “market rate” formula for affordable housing units restricted for a period of 30 years.
  • PCT 20-4 Commerce and AC Text Amendment proposes to add Policy 2.16.4 to allow additional permitted residential density on parcels designated "Commerce" or "Activity Center" on the Broward County Land Use Plan and adjacent to a roadway classified as a State road or County arterial, subject to inclusion of an affordable housing component.
  • PCT 20-5 2.16.2 Methodology Text Amendment proposes to amend Policy 2.16.2 to require that local governments address affordable housing supply and programs in the “moderate,” “low” and “very-low” income categories and requires local governments to use the “Broward County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment” to estimate the supply of affordable housing
  • PCT 20-6 Inclusionary Text proposes to add Policy 2.16.5 to require municipalities to adopt an inclusionary housing ordinance within its zoning or land development code no later than 24 months after the effective date of the text amendment for development resulting in a net increase of 10 or more dwelling units with exemptions for census tracts which have a median assessed value for residential properties at or below 80% of the Broward County median value.
NOTICE: A public workshop regarding these items is scheduled for Thurs., January 16, 2020, at 9:30 AM, Room 302, Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

Miami finally has a strategy to tackle its housing affordability crisis.  Here's the plan. [top]

Miami Herald, Jan 7, 2020, by Andres Viglucci and Rene Rodriguez

If Miami’s political leaders are serious about solving the city’s growing affordability crisis, here’s what a sweeping new plan to be unveiled Wednesday says they need to do:

Create a bank to finance affordable housing construction and renovations, streamline permitting and tweak zoning, then get small and mid-size developers churning out 3,200 units of housing every year for 10 years — a scale and pace that the plan’s authors call “unprecedented.”

If it sounds ambitious, it is nonetheless necessary to solve an acute crisis that’s not just making it harder for Miamians to find housing they can afford, but also gentrifying character and people out of its neighborhoods. The crunch also acts as a drag on the local economy because residents can’t spend money on things other than housing, the plan’s authors say.


Builder to charge monthly rents as low as $1,000 [top] 

Sun Sentinel, Dec 30, 2019, by David Lyons

A new development company is looking to build homes and apartments in Broward County that are within the reach of middle class workers who are priced out of the urban market.

Rents for apartments built by Continental Development Holding would be $1,000 for 700-square-foot one bedroom, one bath apartments; $1,500 for two bedrooms, two baths; and $1,700 for three bedrooms, two baths.

The rates are lower than the average in Fort Lauderdale, which RentCafe, a national survey company, pegs at more than $1,900 a month. Those lofty rents are largely on the strength of the proliferation of new luxury apartments downtown that go for $2,000 or more.   

Developer Juan Carlos Jurado’s immediate targets for construction are in Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Over the next four to five years, his company intends to build 500 units of what he calls affordable housing in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.


Supreme Court lets stand ruling that protects homeless who sleep on sidewalk [top] 

Los Angeles Times, Dec 16, 2019, by David G. Savage

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a major case on homelessness, letting stand a ruling that protects homeless people's right to sleep on the sidewalk or in public parks if no other shelter is available.

The justices without comment or a dissent said that they would not hear the case from Boise, Idaho, which challenged a ruling by a federal appeals court.

The outcome was a significant victory for homeless activists and a setback for city officials in California and other Western states who argued the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals undercut their authority to regulate encampments on the sidewalks.  The 9th Circuit had agreed with lawyers for the homeless who argued that prosecuting people for sleeping on the sidewalks violated the 8th Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment if a city failed to provide adequate shelter.


Housing Not Handcuffs [top] 

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty released the 2019 Housing Not Handcuffs report on the criminalization of homelessness in America.  This report, the only national report of its kind, provides an overview of laws in effect across the country that punish homelessness.

Though not all Florida cities are listed, Florida cities listed under the 2019 Prohibited Conduct Chart are on pages 108-109.  Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach are specifically listed from Broward County, as well as Miami, Miami-Dade County, and Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, in the Tri-County region.    Fort Lauderdale is specifically referenced under Challenging Food Sharing Restrictions, Right to Expressive Conduct, on page 81.  Miami-Dade is mentioned under Dedicated Funding for Housing and Services on page 21; Governments Should Expand Access to Affordable Housing Subsidies, Sales Tax, on page 89; and Governments Should Stop Using Punitive Approaches to Homelessness, Improve police training and enforcement protocols, on page 98.

Full report...

They may seem like ritzy homes, but they'll actually be affordable housing for seniors [top]

South Florida Sun Sentinel, Nov 26, 2019, by Lisa J. Huriash

It usually costs a pretty penny to live in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale with a riverfront view, but that won’t be the case for this valuable swath of land.

The Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority says it wants its efforts to benefit the poor. Construction will be completed in December 2020 on Sailboat Bend II, a new senior housing community at 437 SW Fourth Ave., south of Broward Boulevard, with a view of the New River.   

The development for seniors will be built by Atlantic Pacific Communities in part with a $26.6 million Bank of America construction loan.


Can't Afford To Live In Broward County?  Here's A New Idea For More Housing, Lower Rents [top]

South Florida Sun Sentinel, Nov 15, 2019, by Larry Barszewski

The land typically reserved for stores and offices along Broward’s busiest corridors also could be used for homes, boosting the opportunities for new housing across the region. 

Under a new county proposal, developers no longer would have to get special permission to build apartments, condos or other residential dwellings on commercial and business properties along the county’s busiest roadways.

Instead, they would have to reserve a portion of those new homes for lower-income families or make significant contributions into a county trust fund that financially supports new affordable housing projects.   

The proposal also could affect overall rents in the county by creating an expanding supply of market-rate housing.  More...

Broward Moves To Expand Affordable Housing Supply by Amending Land-Use Plan [top]

The Real Deal, Nov 06, 2019, by Mike Seemuth

Broward County gave initial approval to a land-use change that would encourage affordable housing construction on commercial sites near major roads.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to initiate the land-use change requiring that developments include a residental component with affordable units if located in high-traffic areas with "commerce" or "activity center" land-use designations.   

The change allows developers to build as many as 19 market-rate residential units for each affordable one in such developments.  The affordable units would be reserved for tenants with "very low" income (up to 50 percent of median household income in Broward County).  More...

As Brightline Sparks Building Frenzy, Affordable Housing On The Way [top] 

South Florida Sun Sentinel, Nov 01, 2019, by David Lyons

Move over, developers. A nonprofit affordable housing group is looking for a piece of the Brightline real estate action.

The high-speed rail service is attracting a growing stream of out-of-town tourists, business travelers and local leisure visitors. And competition has intensified among South Florida developers who are snapping up properties near existing train stations and the sites of potential new ones, real estate experts say.

Now, the nonprofit, the South Florida Housing Link Collaborative, has obtained the financial punch to get in the game: The group recently received a three-year, $5 million investment pledge from JP Morgan Chase to help buy low-income properties along the Florida East Coast Railway line used by Brightline, and potentially, by the Tri-Rail commuter line.  More...

Sadowski Housing Trust Fund
Video highlights affordable housing issues and high costs in Broward County and the general issues that come with affordability costs.