People in Collier County protest, push for affordable housing as rent prices continue to rise

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

People are pushing for change in Collier County. They are calling for lower rent prices. Rent is due on the first of the month for many, who are likely shelling out thousands to live in their apartments. And, making ends meet is getting more and more difficult, especially for those living in Collier County.

Collier County now sees some of the highest rent prices in our area. And the lack of affordable housing problem has led to people protesting against it. Antonio Dumoraoin was one of the protestors. “Rent is high, and we all know it,” said Dumoraoin.

Judy Radi also came to Friday’s protest. “I’m living in a situation where it takes three people to pay the rent,” said Radi. Yes, you heard that right. There are three generations under one roof just to pay the bills at her house.

“People can’t afford it. I mean, they’re not making that much money, let’s face it, you know, so if you have to work two or three jobs, what are you going do with those two or three kids?” Radi said.

Terry Herauf, a Naples resident, is a master-educated occupational therapist and a mom. But she doesn’t get much time with her kids anymore. “I work two jobs to afford to live here, and I have no time with my children,” Herauf said.

When the pandemic hit, she lost a job she’d held for more than a decade. And, when she was able to find a new job, her hours, along with her pay, were cut.

“I had to choose between feeding my children or having a roof over my head,” said Herauf.

Herauf and her family needed help. They were able to find it through Collier County’s eviction deferral program. “It’s designed to let people who are trying to be independent basically take a breath,” Herauf said.

But these programs don’t last forever. And the rent is continuing to rise. On average, a 2-bedroom apartment is more than $2,000 per month nationwide. Collier County’s average is slightly above that.

“That’s close to $22,000 in one year if you make only $30,000, $35,000, $40,000. That is not a lot to sustain yourself on,” Dumoraoin said.

So, the group protesting hopes that their calls for change don’t fall on deaf ears.

“Talk to your local commissioner, talk to your senator, talk to your congressmen. Many people are quiet. Their silence is complicit,” said Dumoraoin.

These programs are for both renters and homeowners who require assistance. But again, financial assistance programs aren’t meant to last forever. Meanwhile, rent and mortgages continue to rise.

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