Making Strong Communities First

Florida First for the Military –The Florida First budget recommends $16.3 million for Florida’s Military Presence and Families,which funds the state’s support of military research and development. The Florida First budget includes $2 million for the Florida Defense Support Task Force, $1.6 million for the Defense Infrastructure Program, and $3 million for military base protection, including additional security measures for National Guard armories. The Florida First budget includes $8 million for National Guard armories and $1.7 for armory maintenance.

Military Families Florida takes great pride in making sure it is first among states in supporting military bases and the thousands of military families. Florida is first for military armory renovation and maintenance and since 2011, Florida has invested over $107.3 million for military base and military family support.

Expanding Crisis Support Services for Veterans Statewide – The Florida First budget builds on Florida’s success as the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation by providing $700,000 to expand the Crisis Center Support Line for Veterans beyond the Tampa region. This new, statewide dedicated telephone line (1-844-MYFLVET) will help veterans in need who are facing delays at the federal level by connecting them with local call centers where they can receive referrals to community health services and other community resources, including employment, financial, legal, transportation, housing, and other assistance. More than 4,300 veterans in all 67 Florida counties will benefit - an almost fivefold increase over the program’s current capacity.

Disaster Preparedness Response, Recovery, and Mitigation – Emergency WorkersSince 2011, Governor Scott has overseen the investment of over $1 billion to ensure Florida is first in the nation for disaster preparedness and recovery. The Florida First budget invests $218.8 million in financial assistance to state and local governments for emergency public awareness, outreach programs, and disaster mitigation programs.

Affordable Housing – Since 2011, Florida has invested over $488 million, including $175 million last year, to put Florida’s affordable housing among the best in the nation. The Florida First budget recommends$131.4 million for affordable housing - $97.4 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program and $34 million for the State Housing Initiative (SHIP) program. SAIL provides low interest loans to developers who build or rehabilitate affordable housing projects. The Florida First budget provides special consideration to properties that target demographics such as the elderly and those with special needs. SHIP funding will be focused on providing first-time home buyer down payment assistance for very low to low and moderate income families.

Small Community Development Block Grants – The Florida First budget recommends $36.5 million in small community development block grants programs focusing on low and moderate income persons, improving housing and supporting infrastructure improvements.