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Affordable Housing Initiative Tops 42,000 Petitions

Ability Housing
Village on Wiley in Jacksonville is a multifamily permanent supportive housing development owned by Ability Housing and financed by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ensuring money for affordable housing have topped 42,000 petition signatures submitted to the state as they try to get on the November 2022 ballot.

As of Friday afternoon, the state Division of Elections had received 42,337 valid signatures for the initiative spearheaded by the political committee Floridians for Housing.

To reach the ballot, the committee will need to submit 891,589 valid petition signatures by a Feb. 1 deadline. As a preliminary step, the committee needs to submit 222,898 signatures to trigger a crucial Florida Supreme Court review of the proposed ballot wording.

The proposed constitutional amendment comes after years of frustration in the real-estate industry and among other groups about decisions by lawmakers to use money from a state affordable-housing trust fund, known as the Sadowski trust fund, for other purposes. If approved by 60 percent of voters, the proposed ballot measure would establish in the Florida Constitution the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund.

It would require that the trust funds receive at least 25 percent of the revenue from documentary-stamp taxes --- which are collected on real-estate transactions --- and would detail how the money could be used to address affordable housing.

As of July 31, Floridians for Housing had raised $13 million for the ballot initiative, with the money coming from the group Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.