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Fort Myers City Council discussing ideas to help with affordable housing crisis

Affordable housing
Posted at 5:44 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 19:51:36-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Living in paradise comes with a price — a price tag that continues to climb. Fort Myers City Council members are throwing some solutions on the table.

Back in February, City Council approved a trust fund to help people with low income. On Monday night, they discussed where the money should go — anywhere from programs to other investments.

They wanted to hear from the public about the housing crisis. Michael Beauharnois wasn't at the meeting, though he's been hit by the housing crisis.

"It’s really being creative and thinking outside the box and looking at where rent is cheap in the country and figuring out what are those people doing to help alleviate this," Beauharnois said.

City Council members are doing that on Tuesday night. They discussed a potential ordinance, which would give people a heads up about a rent increase. Miami-Dade County has done this and Collier County is attempting.

The Miami-Dade County ordinance says if a landlord wants to raise the rent more than 5-percent, they have to give the tenant 60 days notice.

He and his family are living in a 1/1 apartment. Their rent is going up to $1,500 a month. Beauharnois has an idea as to why prices are rising.

"Opening up supply chains is a big deal. As the world markets have stayed close for a lot of the supply chains, what’s happening is it’s more and more expensive to renovate things, to keep up with maintenance and replace things and because of that, they kinda have to raise prices," he explained.

He would like to see more done at a state and federal level. He suggested a cut in interest rates, more local landlords and limiting big corporations from owning multiple properties.

While there is no one size fits all solutions, Beauharnois is looking for his own. He's thought about moving out of the area and heading to Winter Haven. He says not only is housing a little more affordable, but he would be closed to family.

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