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Housing Finance Authority

Polk County's Housing Finance Authority was created to alleviate and remedy the shortage of housing and capital for investment in housing in Polk. The authority is a separate public body corporate and politic authorized by Chapter 159, Part IV, Florida Statutes and created pursuant to section 159.604, Florida Statutes, by the Board of County Commissioners of Polk County by Ordinance No. 78.20, adopted on Nov. 21, 1978 and having an effective date of Dec. 1, 1978.

The Housing Finance Authority of Polk County offers first time home buyers in Polk County up to $7,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a deferred, non-amortizing, 0 percent interest second mortgage. This program is administered by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County. To learn how you can take advantage of this down payment and closing cost assistance, download the First-time Home Buyer Key 1st Mortgage information sheet.


The day, time, place and purpose of each meeting of the authority are advertised in a newspaper of general paid circulation in Polk County.

All meetings are held in the Polk County Administration Building, Fourth Floor, Room 407, 330 W. Church St., Bartow, FL and are open to the public.

Meeting DateTimeAgenda
Sept. 17, 20202:00 p.m.Download


Title Description
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Governing Body

Board Members

  • Karen B. Guffey, Chairman, June 21, 2020 to June 20, 2024
    P. O. Drawer 59,
    Bartow, FL 33831-0059
  • Linda M. Schultz, Vice Chairman, Dec. 1, 2019 to Nov. 30, 2023
    2948 Mission Lakes Drive
    Lakeland, FL 33803
  • Stephen Kalogridis, April 6, 2021 (appointment date filling vacancy left by Angela Buchanan) to February 29, 2024
    P. O. Box 1367
    Winter Haven, FL 33883
  • Cathy Case, Secretary, fills remainder of Beth Evans’ term Feb. 4, 2020 to January 22, 2021
    2232 Heritage Drive
    Lakeland, FL 33801
  • Franklin "Ed" Shoemaker, PhD, August 18, 2020 (appointment date filling vacancy left by William Okrepkie) to November 30, 2020
    4733 San Antonio Drive
    Lakeland, FL 33813

Service Area

The authority's area of operation is the territorial boundaries of Polk County, Florida and any area outside Polk County if the governing body of the county within which such outside area is located approves.

The authority is also authorized by law to participate in interlocal agreements as provided by the Florida Interlocal Act of 1969, Chapter 163, Part I, Florida Statutes. The authority encourages investment by private enterprise and the stimulation of construction and rehabilitation of housing through public financing. The authority may issue revenue bonds, refunding bonds and other debt obligations, as provided in  Chapter 159, Part IV, Florida Statutes.

Taxes, Fees, Assessments and Charges

The authority currently charges a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $1,000 to a person who makes and application to the authority for tax-exempt revenue bond financing for qualified multifamily rental housing projects which meet the goals of the authority and comply with applicable federal and state law. This initial application fee is credited against the administration fee, which is payable upon closing. The applicant is also responsible for the payment of a $3,000 initial fee payable upon inducement to the authority for legal fees and expenses which will be credited against final legal fees and expenses.

At the inducement, the authority will request additional upfront payment of the cost of the credit underwriting report and fees and expenses of $2,500 for the authority's financial advisor. At the closing of the bonds on administrative fee equal to 50 cents per thousand (0.5 of 1 percent) of the principal amount of the bonds will be due. In addition, the authority will charge, in arrears, an annual administration fee of twenty five basis points (0.25 of 1 percent) on the outstanding amount of bonds. Upon receipt of private activity bond volume cap allocation, the developer must execute a commitment agreement with the authority and submit to the authority a commitment fee equal to 1/2 percent of the aggregate principle amount of the bonds to be issued or provide an irrevocable letter of credit in such amount. This fee will be used as a credit against the cost of ssuance and is not an additional fee.

If the sale and closing does not take place, the fee will be refunded less out-of-pocket costs of the authority and fees and expenses of bond counsel, counsel to the authority and the financial advisor. The out-of-pocket costs of the authority may include, but are not limited to, costs of printing the bonds and official statement, travel and rating agency fees.

No taxes, fees, assessments, or charges are imposed and collected by the authority other than as set forth above. The fees are charged pursuant to the general powers granted to the authority by Section 159.608, Florida Statutes.

Contact Us

Service Request

Primary Contact

Karen B. Guffey, Chairman
P. O. Drawer 59
Bartow, FL 33831-0059

Registered Office and Registered Agent

David Fisher, Esquire
Peterson & Myers, P.A.
East Polk County Office
242 W. Central Ave.
P.O. Box 7608
Winter Haven, FL 33883
Tel: (863) 676-7611 or (863) 294-3360
Fax: (863) 299-5498

Special URL

For more information, call Dianna Wilson in the County Attorney's Office at (863) 534-6501 or email at

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