When It Comes to Affordable Housing,
Florida Needs to Step Up

The number of low-wage jobs in Florida is growing, and so is the population of low-wage workers. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the employment projection for 2018-2026 shows an increase in 144,493 jobs, most of them in low-wage employment, which would result in an additional demand of an estimated 40,000 low-income renters over the next eight years...


Keep Families Together

Raise your voices in Spanish or English for every one of the 25,000 mixed status families, including 55,000 children, facing homelessness because of the HUD mixed status families rule.
Tenants, advocates, and other community members can now oppose the rule by submitting comments in Spanish by using our Spanish commenting portal . The comments will be professionally translated and submitted to HUD.


Miami’s housing affordability crisis is dire. A new report reveals possible solutions

A new study shows that Miami’s affordable housing crisis is so dire, the city needs at least 50,000 units just to meet the existing need.

But the Connect Capital Miami Report, which was released Monday, reveals a combination of tools and resources that could help alleviate the dearth of housing for cost-burdened residents.


Senator José Javier Rodríguez & Rep. Carlos G. Smith  File Groundbreaking Renters Rights Legislation


Emphasizing renters rights and need for affordable housing, lawmakers and community organizations across Florida unite behind renters rights legislation never seen before in the Florida Legislature

Tallahassee, FL - Joining forces with community organizations across the state, lawmakers have introduced a comprehensive renters rights legislation to address Florida's acute affordable housing crisis and the exploitation of vulnerable renters.

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami-Dade) and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orange) are leading the fight for renters with SB 1794/HB 1283, a renters rights proposal never seen before in the Florida Legislature. This legislation was written with feedback directly from constituents; empowering tenants with the basic rights necessary to combat predatory landlords taking advantage of a worsening displacement and affordability crisis. Among a long list of reforms, SB 1794/HB 1283 includes:

Just cause eviction, protecting tenants from eviction for an improper reason by allowing evictions only for specific reasons, such as failure to pay rent or for violation of the lease terms.
A "right to first refusal" policy to require any housing unit to be offered to existing tenants first, before being sold or re-rented on the private market.
If a landlord fails to return a deposit, the tenant shall be awarded damages in an amount equal to three times that amount.
Requires leases to be provided in the preferred language of the tenant.
A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during a state of emergency, such as a natural disaster.
Requires that application fees be refunded in the case of no available units, and that landlords may not charge excessive rental application fees.
Requires 30 days notice of rent increase from the lease renewal period. If the rent increase is over 5%, the notice period must be extended from 30 days to three months.
Protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking.
Prohibits discrimination of renters based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Florida is in the midst of a housing emergency that is threatening the health and well-being of millions of renters. Florida is one of the least affordable states in the US, having the highest rate of cost burdened renters in the nation. The majority of Florida's renter households are rent burdened with 1.8 million Florida households unable to afford their rent, including over 715,000 renter households who are paying over 50% of their income on housing. According to a 2018 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, only 17 rental units are available for every 100 extremely low-income renters in the In the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area; and only 22 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach region.

Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez offered the following statement:
"Our landlord-tenant laws have been out of balance for a long time, tipping the balance in favor of landlords. Especially at a time when affordable housing is at a crisis point in our state, we need to make sure tenants are protected as they spend more and more simply to keep a roof over their head."

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith offered the following statement:
"I have seen first hand the exploitation of Hurricane Maria evacuees by predatory landlords in our area: unjust evictions, stolen application fees and deposits, and zero housing security during times of crisis. Our working families cannot thrive without reliable and affordable housing; I'm proud to partner with Senator Rodriguez on this groundbreaking vision for Florida's renters."

This legislation represents one part of comprehensive affordable housing agenda. In addition to uniting behind renters rights and rent control, lawmakers and housing advocates are repeating calls on the Florida Legislature to stop stealing dollars from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund and reimburse the nearly $2 billion already taken over the past eleven years.

Community organizations in support of this legislation include Community Justice Project, Manufactured Housing Action, Miami Workers Center, Organize Florida, Vamos4PR Action, and Faith in Florida.


Florida officials used Hardest Hit mortgage relief for luxury hotel stays

New federal report says Florida housing officials spent mortgage relief money for their own enjoyment.


Mold, roaches, sewage — what this low-income housing looks like after a pricey rehab

An interesting and relevant article in the Miami Herald concerning low income housing in the Opa-locka area. 


Banished

Check out this stunning piece of journalism featuring Jeff Hearne of LSGMI.  It addresses the banishment of sex offenders in Miami.  This is a statewide challenge in Florida that is not near resolution.