Because of the acute nature of the problem, some companies, such as Arthrex Corp., have warned Collier County officials that the lack of affordable housing makes it extremely difficult to hire and retain workers3. The previous article also identified the issues with hiring lecturers and teachers at local universities and schools and healthcare workers at NCH, Lee Health, and others. The Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance said Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Manatee, and other Florida counties were short 11,500 registered nurses and 5,600 licensed practice nurses in 2019, and the numbers have not improved3.
Various companies and organizations are considering employee housing where access to the company’s location could be difficult. The article on workforce housing in the January edition of Gulfshore Business stated that Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli had suggested letting industrial parks, hospitals, and other large business campuses overlay residential buildings onto their properties.
Residents need to have good schools and healthcare services that can support the community together with essential services from the police, the fire service, EMT, and many others, so any solutions to help the situation should be encouraged.
It is worthwhile noting that in the Florida legislature, Governor DeSantis has recommended significant resources in the state budget for affordable homes and apartments, providing Floridians with options for safe and decent housing. The Framework for Freedom Budget provides $402.7 million to fully fund the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund:
- $121.7 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program.
- $281 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).
The Framework for Freedom Budget also provides $100 million for the second year of the Hometown Heroes Housing Program. This program makes homeownership affordable for eligible frontline community workers such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans.