TALLAHASSEE — In honor of National Homeownership Month in June, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) is highlighting the importance of quality, affordable housing for all. Florida Housing understands that homeownership can significantly impact the lives of families, communities, and the local economy now more than ever. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 50% of all Floridians lived just one paycheck away from homelessness. As unemployment skyrocketed in 2020 and families experienced unprecedented financial strain, more than 57,300 evictions and 7,400 foreclosure suits were filed between March and December, even with the emergency moratoriums in place.
As the country slowly begins to recover from this pandemic, Florida Housing continues our efforts in providing Floridians with the necessary assistance when they’re ready to take the next step in securing a home. In the past year, more than 4,000 households have utilized Florida Housing’s homeownership programs and services to purchase their first home, totaling more than $799 million in first mortgage loans and more than $38 million in down payment assistance.
“Over the last year, we have all been reminded of the significance of having a safe, stable and affordable place to call home,” said Trey Price, Executive Director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation. “Throughout the month of June, our team will continue to highlight the value of homeownership while also emphasizing the critical need for quality, affordable housing throughout the state of Florida. Purchasing a home is a huge milestone in life, and when you’re ready, we are here to help make your dream a reality.”
“As a builder of residential affordable housing for more than 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand what having a place to call home does for a family,” said Ron Lieberman, Florida Housing Finance Corporation Board-Chair. “When people have a place to call home it facilitates a healthy family environment, leading to stronger communities and an overall increase in local economic impact. I’m proud to work with Florida Housing to provide hardworking individuals throughout the state of Florida with that welcome home moment.”
“There is a reason we call it the DREAM of Homeownership, because for far too many hard-working Floridians it is just a dream,” said Florida REALTORS® President Cheryl Lambert. “Fortunately, Florida has fantastic housing programs in place to make the dream a reality for so many, and throughout the month of June and beyond, we look forward to celebrating these programs and the countless Floridians they support.”
To emphasize the importance of homeownership, particularly for families with school-aged children, Florida Housing launched a statewide art contest in May asking kids and teens to submit their original artwork answering the question: What does home mean to you? The winning artwork showcased a variety of heartwarming scenes: children spending quality time with their family, engaging in fun activities, or simply a picture of what their actual home looks like. Out of more than 200 submissions received, the top 40 winning designs will be hung throughout Florida Housing’s building in Tallahassee in honor of National Homeownership Month. To view the winners of this art contest, please visit www.floridahousing.org/artcontest.