Key West and Monroe County made a small dent in the local housing crisis on May 23, when officials from the city, county and Key West Housing Authority cut the ribbon to officially open Garden View apartments, built by local contractor Gulf Keystar.

The new development on College Road features 103 one-bedroom apartments for people with low and very low income. 

Ninety-two of the units are for low-income residents, who will pay $1,321 per month. Eleven units for very low-income residents will cost $264 per month, said Randy Sterling, executive director of the housing authority.

“We got 650 applications for these units in 60 days,” Key West Mayor Teri Johnston told the crowd that attended the ribbon-cutting. “If that doesn’t tell you we have a housing problem. But this is a great start.”

Sterling said the tenants, who will start moving in on May 24, include workers from Publix, Lower Keys Medical Center, Ocean’s Edge Resort, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, the city of Key West, Marriott Beachside Hotel and the county clerk’s office, “to name just a few.” 

“These homes will be occupied by local workers who can now afford to stay here in the Keys,” Sterling said.

Meanwhile, on Trumbo Road in downtown Key West, another workforce housing development — 24 units — is in the works for employees of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Pilings will be driven into the ground on June 1, and after that construction will take about 12 months, Sheriff Rick Ramsay said. 

That project is being funded and built by the owners of the luxury Steam Plant condominiums next door.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.