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Florida cities partner with housing advocates: cities and affordable housing advocates are concerned of cuts to key state programs.

Affordable housing advocates recently had their day at the Capitol.

On a very blustery 1st of April, the wind was not the only thing kicking up dust in the state's capital.

The Florida League of Cities, in partnership with the Sadowski Coalition and a myriad of statewide housing advocates held a press conference on the steps of the Old Capitol.

The trust fund, established in 1992, sets aside money from real estate transactions to help lower-income Floridians on the road to home ownership.

The purpose for this press conference was to encourage legislators and the Governor to reauthorize the trusts that funds the affordable housing program.

Cities were alarmed to hear the Governor announce his intent to end guaranteed state funding for affordable housing programs again this year.

Though last year's effort failed, the Governor had a better chance of succeeding this year because the legislature had to pass new legislation to keep the trust funds and affordable housing programs alive.

What this does is make the trust funds vulnerable to a veto by the Governor.

If the trust funds were not reauthorized, money previously dedicated to affordable housing through the documentary stamp tax could be spent on other state programs, forcing cities to lobby each year for funding.

Other actions that have been taken to advocate for affordable housing trust fund renewal include: weekly strategy meetings with members of the Sadowski Coalition, informational exchanges between affordable housing advocates and the House and Senate leadership, and weekly meetings with House and Senate Appropriations staff briefing them on the impact of not having housing trust fund dollars.

Members of the legislature and media also received press kits designed by the Florida Housing Coalition containing important information and data about the housing trust fund dollars, potential loss of job index, loss of actual houses and statistics indicating loss of economic power throughout the state of Florida, county-by-county.

The press conference received excellent statewide coverage and advocates were rewarded for their efforts when, on that day, the house followed the senate lead and passed the bills reauthorizing the affordable housing trust fund.

Among the many participants at the press conference Were the League's own Bob Marks, Mayor, City of Parkland and Michael Blynn, Councilman, City of North Miami.
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Title Annotation:Advocacy in Action
Author:Maxey, Taylore N.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 3, 2004
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