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COLLIER COUNTY | Collier County Schools leans on workforce housing as housing crisis continues

COLLIER COUNTY | Collier County Schools leans on workforce housing as housing crisis continues
Posted at 10:46 PM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 14:33:59-04

NAPLES, Fla. — Collier County has seen a wave of workforce housing plans coming to the area.

With the median home price in Collier County being more than $340,000, the local housing issue is likely not going away anytime soon.

Now, the Florida government is taking it into its own hands
to help the issue.

The Live Local Act, which took effect July 1, is now showing progress in Collier County.

The law gives tax breaks to developers in hopes of bringing more affordable housing to Florida residents.

The Collier County School District has faced the nationwide teacher shortage and leaders say they hope the new law encourages more developers to come to the area.

“If they say the rent is 1498 for a one bedroom, it's 1498 all-inclusive," said Valerie Wenrich, Chief Human Resource Officer for Collier County Public Schools. "That really helps the folks, the employees, and the missing middle that really are struggling to find a place to rent.”

Gregg Fusaro, Partner with CIG Communities, said the sites they are bringing to the area are setting aside units for service careers, like educators.

"I think you're gonna see more as people get to understand the Live Local Act, and how they can use that to help them create more affordability,” said Fusaro.

However, the school district said it cannot just rely on the Live Local Act to help in its search for staff. They are looking towards teachers who already have their housing situated.

“We have a 'Teach for Collier' program that we offer where we provide information to the general public about what it means to become a teacher and how to become a teacher," said Wenrich. "We're really looking for anyone with a Bachelor's degree that has an interest in working with children and a love for children.”

As more workforce housing plans are presented to the county, Wenrich said they will continue to show up and voice their support.