Governor DeSantis touts affordable housing money

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced a plan to provide $140 million for new affordable housing in areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

DeSantis announced an agreement between the state Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Housing Finance Corp. during an appearance in Marathon. Housing developers and public housing authorities will be able to apply for the funding, which must address unmet needs in areas identified as “most-impacted and distressed” by the federal government.

“This has been a problem in recent years anyways, but the recent storms, Irma and (Hurricane) Michael, have exacerbated the problem,” DeSantis said. “This will be an important step in the recovery process.”

The money will be provided through the Rebuild Florida Workforce Housing Program, a partnership of the Department of Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that was launched last year.

DeSantis said 15,000 families have registered for the program. Hurricane Irma made initial landfall in Monroe County, which includes Marathon and areas such as Key West. Monroe County is expected to get about $35 million of the funding, said Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.