Calls for more affordable housing in Collier County

Published: January 10, 2022 7:22 AM EST

Finding affordable housing in Collier County is becoming more difficult; according to QuoteWizard.com, rent there increased 49% in 2021 and prices keep going up.

Collier County leaders are meeting at 8:30 a.m. Monday in an advisory meeting that will discuss what can be done to create cheaper housing before making recommendations to the county’s board of commissioners. But people living in Collier County say they have already had to cope with the rising costs.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines “cost-burdened” as “spending more than 30% of one’s income on housing.” Many people find themselves cost-burdened in Collier County, where 61% of jobs pay less than $34,000.

Jim Baumhart and Olivia DeAngelis are two residents who agree on one thing: Collier County leaders need to do something. They both know people who have moved out of the county or are considering moving out of the county because of the high cost of living, and Baumhart says he may soon be moving for that same reason.

“I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous for, you know, a pretty standard two-bedroom, two-bath apartment to be paying, like, $3,300 a month,” Baumhart said.

“Financially, I will never be able to live my own because there’s nothing affordable here in Collier County,” DeAngelis said.

Baumhart says he recently received a notice letting him know that his rent will be increasing by 35% within the next 60 days.

He told me one thing county leaders should do – is put limitations on how much someone’s rent can be increased.

“I just, I find it appalling that there’s no provisions, the county doesn’t have sanctions in place where their landlords for these apartment complexes are allowed to just so blatantly do what they want to do and not protect the public.”

“What about the people that have lived here forever?” DeAngelis said. “What about the people that, you know, are middle class?”

WINK News spoke to community members who say they believe the cost of living in Collier County keeps increasing because of the number of people moving to the county from other areas.