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Business owners fear affordable housing crisis will impact workforce

workforce housing crisis
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 10:54:23-05

NAPLES, Fla. — On Wednesday, people living in Collier County said their community is heading toward a housing crisis, sparking a community forum held by the non-profit, Greater Naples Leadership.

Joe Trachtenberg, who is part of the Collier County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, told Fox 4 it's a widespread issue for people in the workforce.

"We have 48,000 people who work in Collier County who can't live here," said Trachtenberg.

The issue of affordable housing for Collier County's workforce is something that Habitat for Humanity's Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lefkow knows too well.

“This is a conversation that unfortunately is decades old,” said Lefkow.

Trachtenberg said it's a conversation that involves all walks of life.

“This runs the gauntlet from doctors and nurses down to waiters, people that clean your pool,” said Trachtenberg.

Trachtenberg told Fox 4 that rental rate increases in Collier County were already one of the highest in the nation.

A statistic seen up close by people like Dan Lavender, who spoke at the forum about his daughter who he says is part of the workforce that can't live in Collier County.

“My own daughter, 25 years old, works for Florida Southwestern, she works on the Naples campus. Where does she live? Lee county,” said Lavender.

According to Trachtenberg as more luxury living projects are going up in Naples, it's causing people to push back on county leaders to stop housing development altogether.

“Many of the cries we hear are from people who say they don't want more development in collier county, the purpose of this forum is really to open their eyes to the fact that there is another point of view," said Trachtenberg.

A point of view that was talked about on Wednesday.

“Finally the conversation has bubbled up and is now becoming more of a community conversation,” said Lisa Lefkow.

It's a conversation that some say can spark real change for Collier County housing.

“We need more density, we need zoning rules changed, we need impact fee rules looked at..there is a path,” said Trachtenberg.