Groups rally to protect housing fund

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A collection of business, government and advocacy groups that support the state? affordable housing trust fund rallied on the steps of the old Capitol on Wednesday, calling on lawmakers not to dismantle the fund — as a Senate plan would do, reports the News Service of Florida. ?ffordable housing is a key to our economic recovery in the state of Florida, as well as to help businesses thrive in our state,?said Jose Gonzalez, chief lobbyist for the Associated Industries of Florida. Gonzalez said AIF is also hesitant about a House measure that would combine the housing trust fund and some other state accounts, saying the organization would like to at least see the proposed legislation guarantee a portion of funding devoted to housing. ?o not be able to have any assurances is very troublesome,?Gonzalez said. Advocates also point out that, while the Legislature has raided the trust fund for almost $1.1 billion since it began almost 20 years ago, the account has also bankrolled almost $3.3 billion for housing programs. ?t? a system that works both ways,?said Mark Hendrickson, lobbyist for the Florida Association of Local Housing Finance Authorities.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.