Orlando Rep. Carlos Smith urges Gov. DeSantis to declare state of emergency over Florida’s affordable housing crisis

Florida Democrats are pushing Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody to declare a state of emergency over the state’s affordable housing crisis. In a letter to Gov. DeSantis, Orlando representative Carlos Guillermo Smith urged the state’s top executive to take action as much of the state has seen rapid rent increases and housing price booms.

The letter cited a number of actions that led to the current state of housing, including Florida’s notoriously low wages, active cuts to affordable housing funds by state lawmakers and Florida dragging its feet in getting rental assistance to those who needed it during the early days of the pandemic.

A declaration of a state of emergency would bring sudden increases under greater scrutiny. Year-over-year rent increases of more than 10% could be considered price-gouging, if the state was willing to view housing as a necessary item during a crisis.

“More and more, Floridians can’t afford Florida because of these unconscionable rent hikes!” Smith wrote on Twitter. “This is price gouging. We have state laws that are meant to protect consumers from price gouging and it’s time that we use and enforce those laws.”

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