The remains of destroyed structures continue to littler the beach side of US Hwy 98 in Mexico Beach, five months after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the small coastal community. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
The Florida Legislature is assigning $200 million to affordable housing programs next year, doubling what the state spent last year but short of what Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted.
Most of the money — $115 million — is going toward affordable housing programs in the Panhandle areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Another $77 million is going to programs around the state, and another $8 million is going to the Jacksonville area.
State Sen. Rob Bradley noted that the amount is about $100 million more than the state spent last year.
“We made a big jump compared to where we were last year,” Bradley said.
But it falls far short of what DeSantis wanted in his budget. He wanted the state to spend $338 million on the programs, which provide low-interest loans to developers of affordable housing and build affordable housing for low- and middle-income families.
Affordable housing has been a growing problem in the state. A recent study showed Orlando the worst among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas for the availability of affordable housing.