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ROOF advocates for inclusionary housing opportunites

As the Florida House of Representatives steams along with assures of record education funding, billions
in reserves, and #downontaxes momentum, it is important to remember that dedicated funds for
housing requires attention – and money. Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) is one of many
organizations in the state that has teamed with the Florida Housing Coalition and the Sadowski Housing
Coalition to ensure that the House steps up to the plate when it comes to ensuring that the money
dedicated to house Florida’s most vulnerable populations stays put.

Thankful for fulfilling the promise of dedicated funds coming out of 2015, advocates for affordable
housing programs, including those that support individuals with disabilities, are working together to
encourage legislators to again fill the coffers. While the Senate has dedicated $317 million to affordable
housing initiatives, the House has not yet met half that amount. During budget season, everything
seems to be a priority. But when funds are dedicated, and then swept into the general revenue bucket,
voices are going to be heard.

Monies which go to local housing trust funds through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
program provide support for the homeless, veterans, the elderly, and those with special needs. Because
many adults with disabilities require support services to live independently, finding affordable housing is
imperative to living inclusively in the community versus living in an institution or ending up homeless. A
2013 housing study shows that 590,000 households were low-income, had a member with a disability,
and lived in housing that was not affordable for the family.

As groups such as ROOF continue to advocate for inclusionary housing opportunities that meet the
needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the eyes and ears of this
organization and the state collective will be on our legislators and their promises to their constituents.
This money not only provides safe and accessible homes, the investment in turn creates 32,600 Florida
jobs, and has a positive economic impact in our state of $4.6 billion. Now that’s a win-win.

Reneé Edwards
Residential Options of Florida, Inc. (ROOF), Board Member