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State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
   
 
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Florida Housing administers the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program (SHIP), which provides funds to local governments as an incentive to create partnerships that produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. The program was designed to serve very low, low and moderate income families.

SHIP funds are distributed on an entitlement basis to all 67 counties and 53 Community Development Block Grant entitlement cities in Florida. The minimum allocation is $350,000 and the maximum allocation is over $8.8 million. In order to participate, local governments must establish a local housing assistance program by ordinance; develop a local housing assistance plan and housing incentive strategy; amend land development regulations or establish local policies to implement the incentive strategies; form partnerships and combine resources in order to reduce housing costs; and ensure that rent or mortgage payments within the targeted areas do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income limits, unless authorized by the mortgage lender.

SHIP dollars may be used to fund emergency repairs, new construction, rehabilitation, down payment and closing cost assistance, impact fees, construction and gap financing, mortgage buy-downs, acquisition of property for affordable housing, matching dollars for federal housing grants and programs, and homeownership counseling. SHIP funds may be used to assist units that meet the standards of chapter 553; SHIP funds may also be used to assist manufactured housing constructed after June 1994 in accordance with the installation standards defined in the rules of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

A minimum of 65 percent of the funds must be spent on eligible homeownership activities; a minimum of 75 percent of funds must be spent on eligible construction activities; at least 30 percent of the funds must be reserved for very-low income households (up to 50 percent of the area median income or AMI); an additional 30 percent may be reserved for low income households (up to 80 percent of AMI); and the remaining funds may be reserved for moderate-income households (up to 120 percent of AMI.). It is important to note that no more than 5 percent of SHIP funds may be used for administrative expenses. However, if a local government makes a finding of need by resolution, a local government may use up to 10 percent for administrative expenses. Funding for this program was established by the passage of the 1992 William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act. Funds are allocated to local governments each month on a population-based formula. These funds are derived from the collection of documentary stamp tax revenues, which are deposited into the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. Total actual disbursements are dependent upon these documentary stamp collections.