The State of Florida, its vibrant metropolitan regions, and its communities and residents have faced a tremendous crisis in the past year. The subprime lending, credit and housing crises hit Florida’s communities and the state’s economy hard, destabilizing housing markets, devastating neighborhoods, and spreading an economic malaise across the state. Although the economic crisis has impacted the entire nation, Florida has been one of hardest‐hit states. The state had the second highest rate of foreclosure filings in the nation in 2008 (after Nevada), with one in 22 homes receiving a foreclosure notice.1 The state recorded more than a half million foreclosure filings in 2008 and three of Florida’s metropolitan areas (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando) were ranked in the top ten for foreclosure rates among the nation’s metropolitan areas.
The ripple effect of the housing crisis and national recession on Florida’s job market was severe. In the fall of 2008, the state shed nearly 60,000 jobs in a month, leading the nation in job losses in November of 2008. By December 2008, the state’s projected budget deficit swelled to more than $2 billion, threatening the ability of the state to provide basic services to its residents and communities. In the past year, the state has lost more than 400,000 jobs and has experienced its first estimated population loss since the Second World War.