Florida Senators have unanimously passed the “Live Local Act” (SB 102) on Wednesday, which aims to provide incentives for investing in affordable housing and promoting mixed-use developments in struggling commercial areas.
According to Walter Duke, the former mayor of Dania Beach, Broward is the least affordable county in the state and one of the least affordable counties in the nation. Duke is a real estate appraiser and chairs the Fort Lauderdale Alliance Affordable Housing pillar.
He believes that affordable housing is necessary because the service-based economy requires good and clean places for workers to live. He explained that 50 percent of the workforce lives at 60 percent of the median income, which means they can afford around $1,200 a month in rent. When the rent is $3,000 a month, the average worker can’t make up the $1,800 shortfall.
State lawmakers are currently working towards passing an affordable housing bill this session in Tallahassee, which is being championed by Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Miami Republican Senator Alexis Calatayud. This bill proposes to:
- Ensure that housing costs do not exceed 30 percent of someone’s pay
- Convert existing buildings into affordable housing
- Relax rules on density and height
- Offer tax breaks for developers
However, the most controversial proposal in the bill is the bar on rent control. Duke looks favorably on the bill and believes that it is exciting to see both sides of the aisle work together. Despite all the construction of affordable housing, Duke believes that it will take ten years to right the ship.