HomeTamarac NewsBroward County launches initiative to boost affordable housing options

Broward County launches initiative to boost affordable housing options


Broward County, Florida – Broward County has taken a groundbreaking step towards addressing the affordable housing crisis with the approval of a unique Affordable Housing Master Plan. This plan, the first of its kind, is designed to significantly increase affordable housing options over the next decade, marking a pivotal moment in the county’s approach to solving one of its most pressing issues.

A Groundbreaking Initiative for Affordable Housing

The Master Plan, themed “Leading the Challenge and Sharing the Burden,” underscores the urgency of the crisis and serves as a rallying cry for a collaborative effort. It calls on municipalities, industry sectors, lenders, and institutions to play an instrumental role in combating the affordable housing catastrophe.

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Broward County Mayor Nan Rich emphasized the collective effort involved in the plan’s development, stating, “The Broward County Commission voted to launch a major affordable housing initiative. This makes Broward the first County in the state to develop a comprehensive approach of this scale, and we need an ambitious, countywide plan to address the affordable housing catastrophe that has been impacting our community. I am pleased to say that this plan was developed in collaboration from all parts of this community, from government, the business community, education and health institutions, non-profit organizations, the faith-based community, and others. It is only when we bring everyone to the table that we can tackle our biggest challenges, and affordable housing is our biggest challenge by far. Now that the Commission has voted to accept the plan, we need to start working with our partners to teach them about the menu of innovative solutions that they can use to start developing more affordable housing units. We need broad participation from cities and stakeholders to prove our commitment to fully address our affordable housing needs over the next decade.”

Financial Strategies and Incentives

The plan includes a strategy to double the funding formula for developing more affordable housing units, with the Broward Commissioners set to review the financial allocations annually. Over the next fiscal year, it aims to provide over $8 million, potentially financing the construction of 1,000 affordable rental units or homes annually for the next 30 years. Additionally, it offers incentives for developers to build both market rate and affordable housing in key areas, such as near rail stations and major transportation corridors.

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A crucial aspect of the plan is its call to action for all 31 municipalities within Broward County. It encourages these municipalities to voluntarily contribute their fair share towards affordable housing solutions, leveraging a variety of recommended strategies tailored to their unique community needs. This includes the establishment of “Affordable Housing Trust Funds” to foster affordable housing programs and attract federal and state resources.

The plan’s flexibility allows for adjustments to recommendations to meet the evolving needs of the community, with a consensus among Commissioners to review financing terms annually. Notably, the plan enhances the allocation of funds towards affordable housing, increasing the percentage of available funding from 50% to 90%, based on expired tax incentive financing, to be reviewed annually.

Broward County Housing Finance Director Ralph Stone clarified the financial strategy, stating, “This Plan does not require property tax increases and ensures that existing funding sources for affordable housing can remain in place. This plan uses expired Local Tax Increment Financing and doubles the funding source that first began in 2018. Under the 2018 financing program, Broward County was able to produce 2,300 new units in the past six years that will remain affordable over a fifty-year period.”

Developed by Florida International University after a year-long community engagement process involving over 60 meetings, the 10-Year Affordable Housing Master Plan sets a precedent as the first countywide master plan in the State of Florida dedicated to affordable housing. This comprehensive approach showcases Broward County’s commitment to tackling its affordable housing needs with innovative solutions and broad-based collaboration, setting a benchmark for other counties to follow.

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