Live Local Act passed by Florida lawmakers to offer tax exemptions for affordable housing

Rent and home prices continue to skyrocket in South Florida, but a new state law now on the books aims to provide incentives for developers to create more affordable housing.

The Live Local Act was passed by the Florida Legislature as residents with good paying jobs struggle to find an affordable place to live.

South Florida renter Arlisa Whitby said it’s an ongoing challenge for him to make ends meet.

“I am not really living, I am surviving,” she said. “On the weekend, I don’t go anywhere. I just stay at home and watch TV because I cannot afford the luxury life of going to a restaurant.”

The solution from lawmakers in Tallahassee was to pass a law that predominantly provides funding for developers to create workforce housing.

“This bill includes $711 million for projects through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, “and this is the largest ever support for housing in state history.”

The lack of affordable housing in South Florida was something 7’s Kevin Ozebek asked the governor about in the Special Report series “Living Nightmare.”

“Is there anything you could push state lawmakers that could ease the burden that renters have here in South Florida and across the state?” Ozebek asked DeSantis.

“The Senate President, number one priority, is to help provide more affordable housing,” DeSantis replied.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo backed the plan. The Live Local Act will offer tax exemptions for developments that set aside at least 70 units for affordable housing.

“We believe that from day one there will be a big impact on the lack of housing for our citizens,” said Passidomo. “We want our residents to live close to where they work.”

Legislators also approved a measure that would speed up the permit process for developers to create more affordable housing. It also encourages mixed use developments in struggling commercial areas.

“The legislature aims to provide affordable and attainable housing for all Floridians,” said Michael DiNapoli with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

While the Live Local Act addresses building more affordable housing, it blocks cities from enacting their own rent controls.

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