ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando's state representatives are fighting to get funding for more affordable housing in Central Florida.
- Elected leaders say there is not enough money to help with affordable housing
- Sadowski fund for affordable housing gets raided by lawmakers, say leaders
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A national study recently ranked metro Orlando as the worst place in the country for affordable homes for low-income renters.
The Sadowski affordable housing trust fund has more than $300 million in it. However, according to representatives, the fund is raided by lawmakers year after year for other things.
"The people who are creating the budget or designing the budget can pull from different areas, and the Sadowski fund just happens to be one of the likely areas they can pull from to try to shore up different budgets," said Rep. Rene Plasencia of District 50.
State Rep Anna Eskamani says part of the money this year is going to help people in the panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael.
However, she says the rest of the money should be used for what it was intended for and Central Florida in particular needs all it can get.
"And so for me, … let's get every dollar from the state. We can coming to our coffers and let's use it for what the voters intended, and that's exactly what the affordable housing trust fund is exactly what our land trust funds are for, and so we need to fully fund all of these avenues and respect the will of the voters," Eskamani said.
So right now, the state House's proposed budget has no money from that fund going to Central Florida for affordable housing.
However, Plasencia says not to worry too much, because the state Senate and House will have to come up with a budget together and the Senate so far wants to use the Sadowski money for what it was intended for.
"So hopefully we'll come closer to the Senate budget when it comes to the Sadowski so we can keep more of those dollars and our cities and counties can access them," Plasencia said.
The Senate and House are set to begin budget negotiations this coming week.