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Thank You For Supporting Florida's

Hometown Heroes

Florida is facing a housing crisis

More and more hometown heroes like police officers, firefighters, teachers, and nurses are struggling to keep up with Florida’s soaring housing prices.

Florida Realtors® has always advocated for affordable housing policies, including supporting two new initiatives in 2022 that will provide critical housing relief to these essential members of our communities.

State lawmakers have included $100 million in Florida’s 2022-23 year budget for the new Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program. This new program would make housing more affordable for these heroes by providing down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible workers. They have also passed House Joint Resolution 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant an additional property tax exemption for members of many hometown hero professions.

Florida Realtors is thankful for the legislature’s efforts to make homeownership more affordable for these heroes.

The Challenge

 In 2016, the median price of a home in Florida had climbed more than 58%. By December, it was $373,990, up 21% from one year earlier. Yet household income isn’t rising at nearly the same pace. 

The challenge of affording a home is even greater for many workers and educators, whose salaries often fall well below the amount needed to buy a home.

To afford a median-priced home, Floridians would need to earn about $62,000 per year. But average salaries for many Hometown Heroes fall short, for example: 

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EMTs & Paramedics

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Licensed Practical Nurses

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Firefighters

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Elementary School Teachers

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Middle School Teachers

Two Solutions

Florida Realtors® is thankful for the legislature’s work to help hometown heroes with homeownership.

Hometown Hero Housing Program

The new Hometown Hero Housing Program complements existing efforts to increase homeownership opportunities for low-income Floridians. The Hometown Hero Housing Program would parallel the existing Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program, which has successfully helped hundreds of veterans and active-duty military personnel buy a home. The program will reduce the upfront costs for homebuyers by providing zero-interest loans to help with down payment and closing costs. The loans could provide up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount, not to exceed $25,000, and would be repaid in full if the buyer sells, refinances, or rents out the home.

Property Tax Relief for Hometown Heroes

House Joint Resolution 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would help hometown heroes who already enjoy homeownership. If approved by voters in November 2022, the amendment would grant an additional homestead exemption from all ad valorem taxes, other than school district levies, on the assessed value from $100,000 to $150,000 of homestead property for homes owned by teachers, law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, child welfare services professionals, active-duty members of the U.S. military, and members of the Florida National Guard.

Who Benefits?

The Hometown Hero Housing Program would be available to home buying families who have income of no more than 150% of the state or local median income, at the time the loan is issued. Specifically, the program would be available to workers and educators employed full time as:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Certified correctional officers
  • Probation officers
  • 911 operators
  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Teachers
  • Education administrators
  • Health care professionals

Property Tax Relief for Hometown Heroes would be available to homeowners who are:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Certified correctional officers
  • Firefighters
  • Teachers
  • Child welfare services professionals
  • Active-duty members of the U.S. military
  • Members of the Florida National Guard
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The Hometown Heroes who keep us safe, care for our families, and educate our children deserve the opportunity to live in the communities where they work. We thank Florida’s lawmakers for their efforts to help the heroes who have done so much for us.