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The Villages
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Affordable workforce housing key to growth in state and The Villages

Affordable workforce housing is key to growth in the state as well as The Villages.

The state Legislature is focusing on ways to develop more workforce housing to keep pace with the Sunshine State’s explosive growth.

“Florida’s ability to attract and retain the talent necessary to grow from the 16th to 10th largest global economy relies on the availability of affordable and attainable housing,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson.

He said the state is welcoming 1,000 new residents each day.

A wide variety of options are being considered by elected leaders around the state, from tax credits to converting vacant shopping centers into affordable housing.

The need for affordable housing and apartments is especially acute around The Villages.

“The Villages creates 1,200 to 1,400 new jobs per year. It has put pressure on the job market,” Greg Beliveau of LPG Urban-Regional Planners of Mount Dora. “Almost two-thirds of the people who work here, don’t live here.”

He said many people, on average, are driving 45 minutes to their jobs in The Villages. He said employers desperately need people and those people need somewhere to live and raise a family.

He regularly appears before local elected governmental bodies, pleading the case on behalf of developers who want to build workforce housing.

He is often met with reluctance from officials who are hesitant about green lighting projects that will create more traffic, require more daily water usage and strain capacity at sewer plants.

Do you think enough is being done locally to address the demand for workforce housing? Share your thoughts at [email protected]

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