Collier County set to discuss ways to help with the rising cost of housing

Published: February 21, 2022 5:28 PM EST
Updated: February 21, 2022 5:35 PM EST

Affordable housing is hard to find in Southwest Florida, but one county is trying to solve that. Collier County commissioners are meeting on Tuesday with the hope of making it easier for people to live in the county.

If you are in the market for a home, get ready to pay big money. Renting an apartment is also expensive if you can find one. Rates are up 38% in the last year.

“This is our time to let them know without a doubt that the residents, the essential workers, the skilled laborers are struggling. This is where we come together, we voice our concerns, and we fight for our home, and we also fight to come up with a solution,” said Lauren Czarnecka from Collier County.

Czarnecka said now is the time to demand relief. She and others plan to protect the cost of living in Collier County during Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting.

“I think there’s a level of urgency we need to apply,” said Joe Trachtenberg, chairman of Collier County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. He will offer recommendations, but he admits none of them help people who need it now. “It’s a very difficult problem, and I’m the first to tell you there are no easy solutions.”

Trachtenberg said Collier County must send a message to people struggling to meet the mortgage or pay their rent. When it comes to whether the workforce is being priced out of Collier County, “of course. I think we’ve been losing workers for years, and I think what we are seeing now is a worsening of the situation,” said Trachtenberg.

Trachtenberg’s presentation on Tuesday will center on a combination of solutions, including land buys and mass transit improvements.

The Affordable Housing Committee estimates at least 40,000 people who work in Collier County live in Lee, Hendry or even Miami-Dade counties.