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Florida will spend about $200 million on affordable housing next year

Most of it will go to the Panhandle areas devastated by Hurricane Michael.

The Florida Legislature is assigning $200 million to affordable housing programs next year, doubling what the state spent last year but short of what Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted.

Most of the money — $115 million — is going toward affordable housing programs in the Panhandle areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Another $77 million is going to programs around the state, and another $8 million is going to the Jacksonville area.

State Sen. Rob Bradley noted that the amount is about $100 million more than the state spent last year.

“We made a big jump compared to where we were last year,” Bradley said.

But it falls far short of what DeSantis wanted in his budget. He wanted the state to spend $338 million on the programs, which provide low-interest loans to developers of affordable housing and build affordable housing for low- and middle-income families.

Affordable housing has been a growing problem in the state. A recent study showed Orlando the worst among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas for the availability of affordable housing.