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Gov. DeSantis signs $711 million plan for additional development, affordable housing

Gov. DeSantis allocates $700 million to affordable housing programs in Florida
Gov. DeSantis allocates $700 million to affordable housing programs in Florida 02:03

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (Tampa Bay Now) - Governor Ron DeSantis signed $711 million in affordable housing Wednesday that will impact working families. The Live Local Act will provide incentives for developers to build more mixed-use developments in commercial areas in an effort to help Floridians live in the community they also work in. It's the largest investment for housing efforts in state history. The goal is to expand housing availability among other things, but housing industry experts are hoping it doesn't end there.

"Teachers, Police officers, firefighters, all these important things.. you can't do it if they have to drive an hour, hour and a half just to get to work every day," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The money will also go toward focused support for military communities.

Housing industry expert Sylvia Alvarez says she's happy to see money going to where it's needed, but with the current climate of the homeownership, she says she wishes other topics were added to the agenda.

"This is a good start. This is a good start in the right direction but we need to do more. For example, insurance," said Alvarez, who is the founder for the Housing & Education Alliance of Tampa Bay. "We get calls every day from people who their insurance has doubled! I mean, it's insane what's happening. And rents… we are one of the highest eviction areas in the country. We are in a housing crisis right now." Her team works with the mortgage and rental program in several counties and says eviction issues come frequently. "There were many evenings where we had to run out at night to give some single mom a check so that the sheriff didn't kick her out the next morning."

Governor DeDantis is highlighting low interest loans to developers and inflation cost alleviation for housing projects in the bill.

"We also do more for the down payment assistance program for Hometown Heroes. Also broaden FHFC's ability to invest in housing," said DeSantis.

"I really don't know how much of an impact this is going to have because as long as interest rates are high, it's still going to be difficult," said Alvarez. "That's a big barrier for people."

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