In Florida teachers, nurses and law enforcement officers can struggle to find affordable homes in the cities where they work. One lawmaker hopes to solve that problem by creating a Workforce Housing Tax Credit.
Affordable housing is a big subject in Florida. But Fort Lauderdale Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer (D-Fort Lauderdale) says many affordable housing programs are aimed at the lowest income earners—leaving some to fall through the cracks.
“Lot of times when you talk about affordable housing people think of Section 8 housing and people don’t’ realize that there are a lot of people there who really make a little too much to qualify for that, but don’t make enough to really find housing that they need,” Farmer says.
Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) has a plan to help with that. She’s pushing a bill that would create a tax credit pilot program to incentivize developers to build what she calls “workforce housing.”
“And I think that this will provide much needed relief particularly in areas of the state such as South Florida and the Florida Keys that just has such an incredible challenge finding housing for their local teachers, nurses and fire fighters,” Flores says.
Under Flores’ bill in order for a developer to qualify for the credit, at least 60 percent of the units in a workforce housing development would need to be set aside for low to moderate income earners. That means the people living in those units would need to make less than 90 percent of the area median income. In Leon County AMI for a family of four is $67,400. That means a family would need to earn no more than $60,660 to qualify for the workforce units. Those numbers change some for “areas of critical concern.” That includes the Florida Keys as well as the Apalachicola Bay area.