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Collier County approves tax funds going to workforce housing plan

Land in place near Collier Blvd. and U.S. 41 near Lely Resort
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 18:23:03-05

NAPLES, Fla — Collier County commissioners have unanimously approved McDowell Housing Partners' application to utilize taxpayer funds for the development of workforce housing. The initiative aims to provide affordable housing options for essential workers, including teachers and law enforcement officers.

The approved site for the housing project spans 7.5 acres, strategically located just south of Collier Boulevard and U.S. 41, between Naples and Marco Island.

Funding for the project will be drawn from the one-cent surtax, that was supported by voters in 2018. This surtax was specifically designated to finance local projects, including those addressing the need for workforce housing in the area.

Elizabeth Radi, a spokesperson for the Collier Tenants Union, expressed optimism about the initiative but underscored the necessity for a more extensive workforce housing strategy to cope with the increasing demand.

"It's extremely important. We're losing our workforce, losing people every day to other counties, and the homeless population is growing exponentially because they can't afford the rent of homes, not because they can't live in a home, said Radi.

Several neighbors who live on the street of the proposed project told Fox 4 they do not support the plans.

While the McDowell housing project has received initial approval, the county's next steps involve formalizing a contract and developer agreement before the project can proceed.