Broward County unveils 10-year affordable housing master plan

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Broward County has taken a significant step forward in addressing its affordable housing crisis with the approval of a comprehensive 10-year Affordable Housing Master Plan. The plan, the first of its kind in Florida, aims to increase the availability of affordable housing across the county over the next decade.

The plan, themed “Leading the Challenge and Sharing the Burden,” emphasizes the need for a collaborative effort from municipalities, industry sectors, lenders, and institutions to tackle what county commissioners describe as an “affordable housing catastrophe.”

Mayor Nan Rich highlighted the collaborative nature of the plan’s development, stating, “This plan was developed with input from all parts of our community, including government, business, education, health institutions, non-profit organizations, and faith-based groups. Only by bringing everyone to the table can we effectively address our biggest challenge: affordable housing.”

Key components of the Affordable Housing Master Plan include:

  • Increased Funding: The plan doubles the funding dedicated to affordable housing development, providing over $8 million in the next fiscal year. This could generate enough financing to build 1,000 affordable rental units or homes annually for the next 30 years.
  • Incentives for Development: Developers are encouraged to build new market-rate and affordable housing at rail stations and along major transportation corridors.
  • Municipal Participation: All 31 municipalities in Broward County are called upon to address their fair share of affordable housing needs. Cities are encouraged to establish their own “Affordable Housing Trust Funds” to create affordable housing programs and leverage state and federal resources.
  • Flexible Recommendations: The plan allows for adjustments based on the evolving needs of the community, with annual reviews of funding and financing terms.

Ralph Stone, Broward County Housing Finance Director, explained that the plan does not require property tax increases. Instead, it relies on expired Local Tax Increment Financing to double the funding source that began in 2018. Since then, Broward County has produced 2,300 new units that will remain affordable for 50 years.

Developed by Florida International University after a year-long community engagement process, the 10-Year Affordable Housing Master Plan marks a pioneering effort to address the county’s housing crisis and set a new standard for similar initiatives across the state.

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