A number of Florida Realtors-backed initiatives passed but still needed signed budget items to move forward. Hometown Heroes, for example, is now fully funded.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During a press conference in central Florida on Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the 2022-2023 state budget into law. The $109.9 billion budget includes funding for several major legislative priorities supported by Florida Realtors® during this year’s legislative session, such as the new Hometown Heroes Housing Program (HHHP).
It also included money for existing affordable housing programs, and significant funding for a variety of water quality and environmental-related projects.
“Next year’s state budget represents a milestone in our advocacy efforts surrounding affordable housing and the environment,” says Florida Realtors President Christina Pappas. “Not only does the budget include $262 million in funding for the state’s existing affordable housing programs that help low-income Floridians, it also creates the new $100 million Hometown Heroes Housing Program to help critical front-line workers live in the communities where they work. This is all in addition to $1.6 billion to help improve water quality throughout the state.”
The HHHP is a new revolving, zero-interest loan program designed to help the state’s essential workers with down payments and closing costs. Administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), the HHHP provides as much as 5% of the first mortgage loan amount up to $25,000.
The program is available to more than 50 occupations and has income and purchase price limits. It began accepting applications on June 1, 2022.
The budget signing also solidifies $262 million in the next fiscal year for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) and State Apartment Incentive Loan programs (SAIL). SHIP funds provide down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers and it’s used to preserve existing housing. SAIL funds rehabilitate existing apartments in need of repair and to build new units where needed.
In addition to funding for housing, the 2022-23 budget locks in place more than $1.6 billion for water quality and other environmental-related projects. This funding will flow to a large variety of projects designed to increase resilience, combat red tide, address wastewater issues and more.
Full details regarding the governor’s announcement of the budget can be found online.
Tom Butler is Florida Realtors Public Policy Communications Director
© 2022 Florida Realtors®