Lack of affordable housing leaves many Southwest Florida jobs unfilled

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

Middle-class employees are getting priced out of many Southwest Florida areas.

The rising costs of renting are leading to a lot of unfilled positions at local companies.

The “help wanted” signs show the need for workers but many can’t afford to live in Southwest Florida.

In order to afford a single-family home in Lee County, a family needs to make more than $70,000, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

“It’s a problem that’s everywhere,” said Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said: “We need teachers, we need doctors, we need law enforcement officers, we need people who are going to work at the county to help serve the public.”

“If all of those people can’t afford to live here, then that’s really going to cause a big strain on our community,” Sandelli added.

Hamman said the county commission gave $500,00 to an organization that built an apartment complex for people who make less than $800 a month.

What can Lee County do about it?

“I think we have to look at density differently. I think we have to look at zoning differently.” Sandelli said.

“When you look at programs like Habitat for Humanity, which helped people actually buy a home and own a home and make a mortgage payment on a home, the county could look to try and help waive some of those regulatory fees or offset the cost of permitting or impact fees or things like that, that those organizations have to pay,” Hamman said.

Until then, don’t expect any of the “help wanted” signs come down.

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