‘Live local’ bill could help with rent crisis in Collier County

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

A step toward making it affordable to “Live local.” That’s the name of the bill now headed to the governor’s desk that aims to make it affordable to live and work in the same place.

In Southwest Florida, many people who work in Collier County can’t afford to live there and are forced to commute each day.

It’s no secret that Naples is an expensive place to live. According to rent.com, the average rent is between $2,000 and $2,600.

Housing is only considered affordable when it costs less than 30% of a family’s gross income, but not everyone thinks this bill will bring positive change.

Ask anyone in Collier County what housing prices are like, and they’ll tell you, “It’s absurd,” said Daniel Danaloval.

Danaloval works for a roofing company and said paying the bills is not always easy. “Unless you come down with money, which is the fortunate. The circumstances for most people here in Collier, outside of those, it’s not really possible, in my opinion, to work here and live here. With the rent prices the way they are.”

Jessey Godoy said the price tags are even affecting his social life. “We have a lot of friends that they’ve actually had to move out of the county because they’re unable to. To live here anymore.”

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who lives in Collier County, said that’s why she brought forward her affordable housing bill that’s headed to the governor’s desk after approval.

The bill increases funding for housing programs, offers low-interest loans to multifamily affordable housing developers, and creates a sales tax refund for building materials.

Elizabeth Radi, the head of the Collier County Tenants Union, said it would be years before people see benefits from the bill. “It does nothing for the short term. It does nothing to help the tenants. It does nothing to control rent, and it does nothing. As a matter of fact, it actually gives more landlords, more rights, and tenants less rights.”

Radi said her biggest issue lies with a section in the bill that would prohibit rent controls.

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