The State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program is created for the purpose of providing funds to counties and eligible municipalities as an incentive for the creation of local housing partnerships, to expand production of and preserve affordable housing, to further the housing element of the local government comprehensive plan specific to affordable housing, and to increase housing-related employment. (1)(a) In addition to the legislative findings set forth in s. 420.6015, the Legislature finds that affordable housing is most effectively provided by combining available public and private resources to conserve and improve existing housing and provide new housing for very-low-income households, low-income households, and moderate-income households. The Legislature intends to encourage partnerships in order to secure the benefits of cooperation by the public and private sectors and to reduce the cost of housing for the target group by effectively combining all available resources and cost-saving measures. The Legislature further intends that local governments achieve this combination of resources by encouraging active partnerships between government, lenders, builders and developers, real estate professionals, advocates for low-income persons, and community groups to produce affordable housing and provide related services. Extending the partnership concept to encompass cooperative efforts among small counties as defined in s. 120.52(19), and among counties and municipalities is specifically encouraged. Local governments are also intended to establish an affordable housing advisory committee to recommend monetary and nonmonetary incentives for affordable housing as provided in s. 420.9076.
(b) The Legislature further intends that the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program provide the maximum flexibility to local governments to determine the use of funds for housing programs while ensuring accountability for the efficient use of public resources and guaranteeing that benefits are provided to those in need.
(2)(a) To be eligible to receive funds under the program, a county or eligible municipality must: 1. Submit to the corporation its local housing assistance plan describing the local housing assistance strategies established pursuant to s. 420.9075; 2. Within 12 months after adopting the local housing assistance plan, amend the plan to incorporate the local housing incentive strategies defined in s. 420.9071(16) and described in s. 420.9076; and 3. Within 24 months after adopting the amended local housing assistance plan to incorporate the local housing incentive strategies, amend its land development regulations or establish local policies and procedures, as necessary, to implement the local housing incentive strategies adopted by the local governing body. A county or an eligible municipality that has adopted a housing incentive strategy pursuant to s. 420.9076 before the effective date of this act shall review the status of implementation of the plan according to its adopted schedule for implementation and report its findings in the annual report required by s. 420.9075(10). If, as a result of the review, a county or an eligible municipality determines that the implementation is complete and in accordance with its schedule, no further action is necessary. If a county or an eligible municipality determines that implementation according to its schedule is not complete, it must amend its land development regulations or establish local policies and procedures, as necessary, to implement the housing incentive plan within 12 months after the effective date of this act, or if extenuating circumstances prevent implementation within 12 months, pursuant to s. 420.9075(13), enter into an extension agreement with the corporation. (b) A county or an eligible municipality seeking approval to receive its share of the local housing distribution must adopt an ordinance containing the following provisions: 1. Creation of a local housing assistance trust fund as described in s. 420.9075(6). 2. Adoption by resolution of a local housing assistance plan as defined in s. 420.9071(14) to be implemented through a local housing partnership as defined in s. 420.9071(18).
3. Designation of the responsibility for the administration of the local housing assistance plan. Such ordinance may also provide for the contracting of all or part of the administrative or other functions of the program to a third person or entity.
4. Creation of the affordable housing advisory committee as provided in s. 420.9076.
The ordinance must not take effect until at least 30 days after the date of formal adoption. Ordinances in effect prior to the effective date of amendments to this section shall be amended as needed to conform to new provisions.
(3)(a) The governing board of the county or of an eligible municipality must submit to the corporation one copy of its local housing assistance plan. The transmittal of the plan must include a copy of the ordinance, the adopting resolution, the local housing assistance plan, and such other information as the corporation requires by rule; however, information to be included in the plan is intended to demonstrate consistency with the requirements of ss. 420.907-420.9079 and corporation rule without posing an undue burden on the local government. Plans shall be reviewed by a committee composed of corporation staff as established by corporation rule.
(b) Within 45 days after receiving a plan, the review committee shall review the plan and either approve it or identify inconsistencies with the requirements of the program. The corporation shall assist a local government in revising its plan if it initially proves to be inconsistent with program requirements. A plan that is revised by the local government to achieve consistency with program requirements shall be reviewed within 45 days after submission. The deadlines for submitting original and revised plans shall be established by corporation rule; however, the corporation shall not require submission of a new local housing assistance plan to implement amendments to this act until the currently effective plan expires.
(c) The Legislature intends that approval of plans be expedited to ensure that the production of needed housing and the related creation of jobs occur as quickly as possible. After being approved for funding, a local government may amend by resolution its local housing assistance plan if the plan as amended complies with program requirements; however, a local government must submit its amended plan for review according to the process established in this subsection in order to ensure continued consistency with the requirements of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program.
(4) Moneys in the Local Government Housing Trust Fund shall be distributed by the corporation to each approved county and eligible municipality within the county as provided in s. 420.9073. Distributions shall be allocated to the participating county and to each eligible municipality within the county according to an interlocal agreement between the county governing authority and the governing body of the eligible municipality or, if there is no interlocal agreement, according to population. The portion for each eligible municipality is computed by multiplying the total moneys earmarked for a county by a fraction, the numerator of which is the population of the eligible municipality and the denominator of which is the total population of the county. The remaining revenues shall be distributed to the governing body of the county. (5)(a) Local governments are encouraged to make the most efficient use of their resources by cooperating to provide affordable housing assistance. Local governments may enter into an interlocal agreement for the purpose of establishing a joint local housing assistance plan subject to the requirements of ss. 420.907-420.9079. The local housing distributions for such counties and eligible municipalities shall be directly disbursed on a monthly basis to each county or eligible municipality to be administered in conformity with the interlocal agreement providing for a joint local housing assistance plan. (b) If a county or eligible municipality enters into an interlocal agreement with a municipality that becomes eligible as a result of entering into that interlocal agreement, the county or eligible municipality that has agreed to transfer the control of funds to a municipality that was not originally eligible must ensure through its local housing assistance plan and through the interlocal agreement that all program funds are used in a manner consistent with ss. 420.907-420.9079. This must be accomplished by: 1. Providing that the use of the portion of funds transferred to the municipality meets all requirements of ss. 420.907-420.9079, or 2. Providing that the use of the portion of funds transferred to the municipality, when taken in combination with the use of the local housing distribution from which funds were transferred, meets all requirements of ss. 420.907-420.9079. (6) The moneys that otherwise would be distributed pursuant to s. 420.9073 to a local government that does not meet the program’s requirements for receipts of such distributions shall remain in the Local Government Housing Trust Fund to be administered by the corporation.
(7)(a) A county or an eligible municipality must expend its portion of the local housing distribution only to implement a local housing assistance plan or as provided in this subsection.
(b) A county or an eligible municipality may not expend its portion of the local housing distribution to provide ongoing rent subsidies, except for:
1. Security and utility deposit assistance.
2. Eviction prevention not to exceed 6 months’ rent.
3. A rent subsidy program for very-low-income households with at least one adult who is a person with special needs as defined in s. 420.0004 or homeless as defined in s. 420.621. The period of rental assistance may not exceed 12 months for any eligible household.
(8) Funds distributed under this program may not be pledged to pay the debt service on any bonds.
(9) The corporation shall adopt rules necessary to implement ss. 420.907-420.9079. (10) Notwithstanding ss. 420.9071(26) and 420.9075(5) and subsection (7), for the 2016-2017 fiscal year:
(a) The term “rent subsidies” means ongoing monthly rental assistance.
(b) Up to 25 percent of the funds made available in each county and each eligible municipality from the local housing distribution may be used for rental assistance and rent subsidies as provided in paragraph (c).
(c) A county or an eligible municipality may expend its portion of the local housing distribution to provide the following types of rental assistance and rent subsidies:
1. Security and utility deposit assistance.
2. Eviction prevention subsidies not to exceed 6 months’ rent.
3. Rent subsidies for very-low-income households with at least one adult who is a person with special needs as defined in s. 420.0004 or a person who is homeless as defined in s. 420.621 when the person initially qualified for a rent subsidy. The period of rental subsidy may not exceed 12 months for any eligible household or person.
(d) This subsection expires July 1, 2017.