A new bill in the Florida senate that lays out a new statewide workforce housing strategy has passed.
The bill passed with support from senate president Kathleen Passidomo from Naples. Naples and all of Collier County are no strangers to workforce housing issues. But, with the new bill, there is not only new hope for workers but businesses too.
Passidomo lives in Collier County and understands the affordable housing crisis facing many residents because it’s all around her. But her goal of helping people to live where they work remains a strong motivation.
And for people like Morgan Brooks, a Collier County resident, it is tough finding that.
“Even for me, right now, I live with my dad because I can’t afford to move out because the rent prices are really high,” Brooks said.
Passidomo’s bill increases funding for housing programs, offers low-interest loans to multifamily affordable housing developers, and creates a sales tax refund for building materials. But, even if the bill passes and the governor signs it into law, Brooks wouldn’t see any benefit for years.
“All the people moving to Florida who are retired or just rich people,” Brooks said. “It’s pushing all the people who are from here or want to live here and can’t afford it because prices keep going up. It’s hard to stay.”
According to Rent.com, in 2023, the average rent for apartments in Naples is between $2,000 and $2,600.
Perry Francis, a manager at Natural Comfort Footwear, told WINK News it’s hard finding local workers.
“It’s just a little bit of a struggle right now for people. There’s a lot of competitiveness in the market right now, so people are having a hard time finding a place that’s suitable for them and for their income, to make it worth their while. So, we’re having a hard time keeping people on staff,” Francis said.