BIG PINE KEY, Fla., April 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Eighteen months after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida and The Keys, the area still faces an acute shortage of affordable workforce housing. PBS News Hour's segment on the Florida Keys housing crisis featured the work of Maggie Whitcomb, founder of The Florida Keys Community Land Trust (FKCLT) as a solution. The segment can be found here.
After the storm, teachers, civic workers, servers and those who keep Monroe County's billion-dollar tourism economy humming either left or are still living in trailers, cars, tents, or with friends. Workers who relocated to the mainland endure three-hour commutes each way to work.
FEMA's temporary housing program ended In March leaving survivors to fend for themselves. Severe housing insecurity continues to mount among the workforce, yet Federal dollars earmarked for Irma recovery have still not made their way to the Keys.
"Where is the outrage?" Whitcomb asks. "Tourism in the Florida Keys generates billions in revenue for the state. Visitors have been spared the unpleasant truth of the humanitarian crisis here. Ad campaigns promoting the Keys being back in business suppress the real story and stops the flow of aid."
As tourism and businesses rebound, the local labor pool needed to sustain this growth must be available. "The Keys economy can't survive if the people who make things run every day aren't here. And they can't stay if they don't have a place to live," said Whitcomb.
With four Keys Cottages built to exceed Miami Dade hurricane standards at or near completion, the FKCLT has launched a capital campaign to raise $2,000,000 to fund the next phase of construction.
Donations can be made at affordablekeys.org.
About Florida Keys Community Land Trust
The Florida Keys Community Land Trust is a non-profit 501C3 established in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma to preserve and enhance the way of life for working families of Monroe County, Florida. Through the community land trust model, FKCLT constructs energy efficient and resilient Keys Cottages that will be deed restricted and offered as rentals to households earning less than 80 – 120 percent of the area median income of Monroe County. For more information, visit www.affordablekeys.org
SOURCE Florida Keys Community Land Trust