“This is a crisis of extreme proportions,” warned County Commission Heather Carruthers during a roundtable discussion about affordable housing earlier this week.
In a report commissioned by the BOCC and prepared by the Florida Consensus Resource Center (FCRC) of Florida State University, data revealed that Monroe County is one of the most “cost-burdened” small counties in the nation as 30-50% of a family’s income is just for housing.
The analysis comes as no surprise to anyone. A limited supply combined with high insurance rates and increasing demand continues to squeeze families and make it harder for businesses to find housing for their employees.
“We have been talking about workforce housing in Key West since 1940,” said Key West Commissioner Tony Yaniz, who was one of many elected officials from throughout the county with a seat at the table.
Others invited to the discussion included councilmembers from Marathon and Islamorada, four county commissioners, Habitat for Humanity representatives and FCRC Director Robert Jones.
“Solutions to the workforce housing challenge require a broad-based, proactive approach,” he said, suggesting the county perform a “situation assessment” as the first phase of a process that “will engage a broad range of Monroe County public private and non-profit stakeholders and leaders to clarify substantive issues involved and options to consider.”
He said the report is designed to summarize and whether a committee should be convened, its scope, the participation opportunities for the interested public. The recommendations will also address any coordination need with other local, regional, state, federal, private or non-profit programs or activities.
Jones is requesting individuals, organizations or businesses supply perspectives on the housing crisis in order to achieve a clearer idea of the issue.
Those spearheading the affordable house discussion included, from left: County Commission David Rice, County Attorney Bob Shillinger, County Mayor Sylvia Murphy and the County’s Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson.
The affordable housing discussion drew more than 50 audience members from throughout the county – a clear reflection of how important this issue has become.
Those with seats at the table included Key West Planning Director Don Craig, County Commissioner George Neugent and Key West Commissioner Tony Yaniz.