City Planner Don Craig said there is no simple fix to the lack of affordable housing in Key West, and it’s compounded by the city’s maxed-out housing authority which already manages more than 1,000 units.
“The average price of homes in last 7 months was $637,000,” Craig said, referring to current market rates. “This is a problem because the price most people working in Key West can afford to pay for a house is about $156,000.”
The discussion’s timing is pertinent. Over the next 10 years, the state will grant Key West more than 500 residential permits for deed-restricted, affordable housing. The availability of these permits provides the city an opportunity to create a significant number of net new affordable housing units for the first time in more than a decade.
Craig suggested to the commission that it consider selling city-owned parcels to the Land Authority for future affordable housing. He also said that City Attorney Shawn Smith agrees the city should expand the housing authority department to cope with the increase of units to be managed.
“We should direct the work to the housing authority and increase density in some locations, if needed. If necessary we can contact State Representative Holly Raschein,” Craig said.
At the end of the presentation, Craig recommended the City Commission direct the Land Authority and city staff to immediately start identifying land and property suitable for affordable housing.