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In this important election year, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald want to drive a discussion on the important issues facing the Sunshine State. They’ve assembled a panel of 50 influential Floridians who will offer their views through the November elections.

In a new survey of the Florida Influencers, a clear majority (84 percent) said the next governor and Legislature must direct all the funds from those trusts into state and local programs to properly address Florida’s ongoing affordable housing crisis.

Since the 2008 recession, the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds have collected a total of around $2.2 billion from documentary stamp taxes on real estate transactions with the intention to create more low-income housing. But the Florida Legislature has directed nearly $1.5 billion of that toward other budget priorities over that period.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Florida offers just 26 available affordable housing units per 100 extremely low-income renter households, the sixth lowest rate in the country. Tiffany Troxler, the Directory of Science for the Sea Level Solutions Center, thinks the housing problem is intertwined with the state’s public transportation issues.

“With new transit-oriented development projects, each can bring in affordable housing units,” Troxler said. “This approach can not only increase affordable housing, but also help to ease traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

This is the 11th of a series of surveys the Miami Herald will conduct with 50 Influencers through the November elections to help focus media and candidate discussion around the policy issues of most importance to Floridians. Read the full debrief here.