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Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith calls for statewide emergency over housing crisis

Carlos Guillermo Smith. Photo: The Florida Channel
Carlos Guillermo Smith. Photo: The Florida Channel

Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and 23 other Florida legislators are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency over a statewide affordable housing crisis. 

A state of emergency would allow Florida’s Attorney General to enact consumer price protections for tenants.

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says that means if rent rose by more than 10 percent from one year to the next, it would be considered price gouging. 

Guillermo Smith says this would guarantee that people could stay housed, improving working-class families’ lives and making it easier on businesses to retain workers. 

“One of the big reasons we see a labor shortage is that workers who were in these jobs for many years are facing these rent hikes and it’s pushing them out of their apartments. And pushing them to move outside of metro Orlando. Because they can no longer afford to live in Orlando. So they’re having to leave their jobs because they can’t afford to live here anymore."

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Smith says it’s disappointing that the governor’s office continues to blame the housing crisis on price inflation and President Joe Biden.

“You know this has a lot to do with the greed of many corporate developers and landlords but it also has a lot to do with the fact that since 2001 the Republican-led Florida legislature has swept $2.3 billion dollars out of the affordable housing trust fund. Those monies would have been used to actually incentivize the construction of affordable housing.”

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The National Low Income Housing Coalition found 40% of middle-income families are currently struggling to pay rent in the state.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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