PART TWO: Key West Housing Crisis

by Naja and Arnaud Girard 


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9 thoughts on “PART TWO: Key West Housing Crisis

  1. It was always nice to ride my trike past the little trailer park on Simonton St. It was quiet and there were so many large beautiful shade trees and bushes everywhere on the property. What a shame it is to know that Key West is tearing all the trailers down, and destroying the last truly affordable housing on the island. The 30% rule notwithstanding, no matter what they build on that site, it’s a given that those people who lived in the trailers will be unable to afford the rent, so they will be added to the city’s homeless population. Does that make sense to anyone? Does that seem moral to anyone? Those people were not hurting a soul by living cheaply in that little community, but I guess it’s as Hemingway said in 1937, that they want to “tear down those shacks and make this a rich man’s paradise.” How right his prediction was. And how right Ed Swift is when he says that when people are working two to three jobs, they are just surviving and have no time to care about or be involved in their community.

  2. I read this with pain in my heart! We here in the United States crow about free enterprise and the right to property etc., etc. I agree with all that too. When do the rich become too rich? Is it wrong for someone who owns a private property to sell it for a profit? When will the taxpayers decide that they need to support everyone in the community like they do in Europe? Europe is not a third world place, in many ways much better than the good old U.S.A. Free education, free college, free medical, good roads-so what is the difference? Could it be that our so-called graduated income tax has failed us? Could it be that a person that is making millions of dollars in Key West pays no more income tax than the guy that is making $45k/year. I do not know the answers to these questions but we as a society need to dig in and figure out what is going on. I know it is painful to have 6 poor families living next door to your middle class home and slowly but surely tear down your property values. I know that so many folks think union labor is no good – who came up with that lie? I know that those of us WITH in this country wish those that are without just disappear. They are not going anywhere and they will multiply, especially in places like Florida and Key West. Maybe God can help- yathink?

  3. Nothing hard to understand as to why you lost more affordable housing. Your wonderful city commissioners let it happen. How stupid can they be ? You lost a home for about 90 people with a promise worth nothing. Even if they gave you 30% affordable that still lost 70%. Where in the hell should they live ? They do not need the votes from the poor and likely were well thanked by the developer. When and if the taxpayers figure out they get screwed by this type of a system and vote them out nothing will change. If workers can’t afford to live here then then the rich can’t find willing workers. No point in living in a place that they can’t enjoy when off. Your costs will go up when workers demand higher wages. Far too many of your section 8’s are occupied by people that won’t work and not the low paid willing workers. Key West looks perfect to tourists but the day will come soon that service type workers will be gone. Your housing is fixing to go bust and with the many cases of police misconduct that goes unpunished it is only a short time away that tourist stop visiting. Vote the people causing all of this out of office. Key West should be real proud to have an armed killer protecting them. Clean up your mess by voting.

  4. “well thanked by the developer ” ? As I recall, Mr Cleghon, Foghorn ( whatever?) promised the tenants and City Commission all kinds of things like a few months free rent or other incentives on the Simonton St Trailer Park.. Yeah , right- didn’t happen , and then there’s Peary Court where the Key West is allowing the developer to tear down all those houses for a hoped for gated community ( it was supposed to be 30% affordable and all they worry about is the stupid fence and the taxes these new expensive homes will bring in ) Thanks City. Then on Big Pine Key they are evicting people from the Seahorse trailer park and transferring the development rights to a nice new hotel on Stock Isalnd , which will require more service workers and affordable housing ( thanks County for allowing that ) WTF?! And don’t forget that a lot of the hotels/ restaurants are paying foreign nationals on temporary work visas ( they get dorm rooms ) when the people who live here get no jobs which can pay a living wage. WTF?!

    1. Cleghorn did give funds to the tenants. He did not provide a relocation team – something he had verbally promised but that didn’t make its way into the fine print.

  5. It must be the new math kids are learning. Offer 30% and take away 70%. Just how in the hell will that fix anything.
    The prices of even old homes is crazy. Only way to make a profit is to turn them into a bed and breakfast, Even on Stock Island you do not have housing the average worker can afford. 30% affordable will destroy Key West. Only chance a worker has is to rent a couch in someones home, sell the car they own and work 60 hours a week. You have elected people that don’t care about the poor, They have a nice home because tax payers pay them plenty. It is of no surprise that you see plenty of help wanted signs in windows and several empty stores on Duval, The rents are crazy for everything in Key West.
    We do thank this paper for not being afraid to print the truth about Key West. Just watch your back so you don’t get tased for j walking. Can only wonder what happens for serious crimes.

  6. Like it or not, Key West is now a full fledged resort city, a year round destination spot.
    Do you think there is affordable housing in Cape Cod during the summer? Newport, RI?
    The Hamptons, Cape May, NJ, Nantucket?
    Marco Island? Hilton Head?
    To EXPECT to be able to live in a resort town all year long, as your permanent residence, on low income is just not realistic.
    That might sound elitist or incompassionate but seriously… you think it’s realistic to expect to live in affordable housing in Nantucket, for example? I doubt there are any houses of any type for less than
    $1 million. It’s obvious Key West is headed in that direction.

    1. Can tell you that for Marco Island that east Naples is not too far to drive and find affordable housing. For Key West they would dam near be 100 miles from much affordable. The problem is KW can not afford the loss of any affordable housing. KW has mostly low end type workers and need everyone of them. Many don’t qualify for section 8 housing. The solution is to not allow redevelopment if it is at the price tag of ANY low cost housing. There are some empty lots from old torn down houses but to be honest they are not profitable to investers to build on to sell or rent. I am an invester and won’t touch any deals that produce less than 20% profit. What should have happened on Simmonton was have the city of KW buy it and develope more affordable units for workers. Not section 8 but simply small apartments for maybe 1 K a month and only available to full time workers.
      It is simple math to understand you can’t keep going without workers. Many come from up north with a few thousand dollars saved and hope to live in paradise and find jobs. They last a few months and lucky to buy a bus ticked to go back home. At some point workers will no be found. Working 2 or 3 jobs is crazy and short lived. We love Key West but are seeing the ugly side.

  7. One difference between Nantucket and the others mentioned is that Key West is not seasonal anymore – the “party” goes on year round with one TDC subsidized festival or event seemingly every week. Maybe we have overdone it. Nantucket is not like this , altho I don’t know about New Jersey’s Cape May .We have all heard talk about “carrying capacity ” as it applies to our roads and other infrastructure. Maybe we have reached our carrying capacity as far as tourism goes , yet we still spend many millions of Tourist Development tax money on such things as taking over the Boston train station and wasteful tv advertising even on the local CNN station here. The “Party” wants to keep that going and will surely not agree with me, but I don’t think we need to be doing that. We have ARRIVED and nearly loved to death. Perhaps we need to reassess our tourist industry and figure out how to make it work better for everyone, especially those workers who are the backbone of the community. The TDC bed tax moneys should be redirected to this end – human infrastructure and quality of life issues that sustain us AND our unique Florida Keys environment. Is that happening now in any way? Are we really better off now?

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