Florida Realtors®has launched a new video and study to demonstrate the positive impact affordable housing programs have on Floridians and their communities to give Florida's lawmakers a clear picture of the return on investment of the funds they appropriate to the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP) and the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program.

"The state and local government housing trust funds do so much good for so many, but it is not always easy to see their direct impact both on people and the economy," says 2017 Florida Realtors Secretary Cheryl Lambert, who also served as the immediate past chair of the state association's Attainable/Workforce Housing Committee. "This is all about educating our legislators on the true value of these trust funds. We know they have hard decisions to make, and that's why it's important they see first-hand the effect of those decisions."

The video, called "True Stories of Florida's Affordable Housing Trust Funds," features several Floridians who talk about the obstacles and tragedies they faced in their lives, and how finding an affordable home helped them achieve stability. They include a previously homeless woman in West Palm Beach, a U.S. Army veteran in Clearwater, a senior in Hernando and a law enforcement officer in Tallahassee.

"Each of these stories is heartbreaking – but also triumphant when you consider how far these people have come and how they were able to use these programs to rebuild their lives," says Lambert.

The affordable housing study, which was commissioned by Florida Realtors and conducted by the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting and Analyses, breaks down the economic impact of the SHIP and SAIL programs for each of Florida's 67 counties from 2006 – 2016.

Of the $1.3 billion appropriated for these programs during that timeframe, $12.54 billion was generated in sales and revenues, 94,149 people were employed and $2.97 billion in wages was earned. This means that for every dollar the Florida Legislature appropriated over those 10 years, $9.50 was generated by SHIP and SAIL programs in economic activity for the state.

The study also projects the economic impact of these programs all the way through 2030, with results showing an average of 4,178 jobs a year, $1.02 billion in economic output each year and $274 million a year in earned wages.

"We wanted the video to focus on the human side of the these affordable housing programs because that is what really matters in the end," says Lambert. "But we knew the economic impact results would have a story to tell as well. All I can say is wow, what an impressive story it ended up being."

The State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program provides very low, low and moderate-income families with assistance to purchase a home, money to repair or replace a home and many other types of housing assistance. The State Apartment Incentive Loan program provides low-interest loans on a competitive basis to affordable housing developers each year.