Woman pushes for tenants union as fight for affordable housing in Collier County continues

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

This week, WINK News has brought you stories, and concerns from those who say finding affordable housing in Collier County is nearly impossible. Now, we’re introducing you to a woman who says she’s ready to lead the charge to make more housing affordable.

She wants to start a tenants union to push for renters’ rights and create renter-friendly policies. The hope is that landlords will be held accountable as housing prices continue to rise.

The faces of affordable housing in Collier County have changed. Now they include people like Julisa Rodrigez, who is a kindergarten teacher. “These are your teachers, your police, officers, your firefighters, your nurses. These are the community workers that are now considered low income for what it costs to live here in Collier County,” Rodriguez said.

Rodrigez says she doesn’t want to move away because living in Collier is all she’s ever known. But, she also says she can’t continue to work multiple jobs, seven days per week, for the rest of her life. Right now, Rodrigez has three other jobs.

I just want to be able to live in my hometown and afford it and not be mentally exhausted, physically exhausted. Overworked,” said Rodrigez. 

“It makes you tired, it makes you sad it…you have all these different feelings that you’re trying to overcome and still be strong for your family,” she said.

“And maybe now is the time to rise up,” said Rodrigez. So she’s deciding to fight back against those high housing prices. Rodrigez created a Facebook group to rally other renters. She also started a petition to form a tenants union.

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