Fried announces campaign plan for affordable housing crisis

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Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried launches policy plan on affordable housing, with a tour that’s set to start in Miami.

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If elected governor, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants to declare a housing state of emergency, promises to veto bills that fun money from the state’s Sadowski funds for affordable housing and create a planning task force to address affordability.

The proposals are part of a new affordable policy plan that Fried, a Democrat running for governor, is announcing on Monday in Miami, as she launches a statewide tour focusing on Florida’s affordability and housing crisis. It is her first policy plan rollout her as she campaigns for governor, and she is expected to make campaign stops in six Florida cities over the next two weeks.

The proposal calls for expanding homestead exemptions up to $100,000, offering other property tax exemptions for homeowners who only have one home and repealing a state law that prohibits local governments from imposing rent control. Fried says she also plans to convert empty hotels and motels to efficiency affordable housing, among other “innovative ideas.”

“There is no denying that Florida faces an affordability crisis,” Fried said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “Our plan will be directed to help everyday Floridians, like a part-time retail worker, the police officer, the single mom, the retiree, or a nurse.”

If elected, Fried says she will also direct Florida’s attorney general to halt rent hikes and designate any spike over 10% as “price gouging.”

The rollout in South Florida follows an announcement from Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to declare a local state of emergency over the housing crisis in the county, freeing up federal funds to pay for Miami-Dade’s emergency rental assistance program. Other Democratic lawmakers across the state, including Orlando Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani, have called for Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in Florida over affordable housing.

In a trend that predates the COVID-19 pandemic, rent prices in Miami-Dade have skyrocketed in the past year, driving middle class residents out of the housing market.

Fried — who is running against several Democrats, including the US Rep. Charlie Crist and Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo — is expected to be in Palm Beach on Tuesday, Tallahassee on Wednesday and Pensacola on Friday. She will be in Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg next week.

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Bianca Padró Ocasio is a political writer for the Miami Herald. She has been a Florida journalist for four years, covering everything from crime and courts to hurricanes and politics.

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