TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida residents can show they care about homeownership and support workforce housing efforts by buying the Florida Realtors®-backed specialty license plate, “Support Homeownership for All,” at county tax collectors offices throughout the Sunshine State.
As of July 2012, more than 15,400 license plates had been sold, raising more than $386,000. Over $115,000 has been awarded to affordable housing programs across the state, including local Habitat for Humanity chapters, according to the Homeownership for All Inc. Foundation.
The plan to help fund workforce housing projects started in 2005 with a contest to design the specialty plate. The winner, Melissa Bourke, a graphic artist for the Naples-based John R. Wood Realtors, received $1,000 from Florida Realtors. Bourke’s artwork was chosen from among 275 entries. Her color scheme and graphic images inspired the Florida Realtors art department to put the finishing touches on the license plate design. The design was then submitted to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Before the bill could become law, it needed to gain sponsorship from Florida legislators. Two lawmakers at the time – State Rep. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres – led the effort. In July 2006, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the bill into law.
“We’re proud that Florida Realtors took the lead in providing a creative solution to help support attainable workforce housing in communities throughout the state,” said John Sebree, senior vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. The goal of the license plate program is to help housing programs already in place provide assistance to teachers, nurses and others unable to afford a home in Florida.
How to buy the license plate
The “Support Homeownership For All” specialty license plate is available for purchase online, by mail or at any county tax collector’s office. The license plate costs an additional $25 beyond the state’s fees for a tag. If buying the tag online, a convenience fee will be charged, which amounts to either $2 or 2.95% of the total cost of the tag.