How to Fix the Housing Problems for Locals

I’m so sorry that when Peary Court came around and was up for sale, that the City of Key West did not purchase it for the original $30 million price.

Then a year later, the price went up to $60 million.

It was then Key West Mayor Craig Cates that had the idea to give a private corporation, Cornfeld Group, $12 million of the city’s affordable housing fund so Cornfeld could purchase the property.

No stipulations, no ask, no strings attached. Here you go Cornfeld…..we are giving you 12 million dollars!

(By the way, that’s 20%, or what could have been, the City of Key West’s  down payment for a $60 million dollar bank loan).

Let me make my point: 157 houses at $30 million would have cost $191,000 per house.

The city could have used this opportunity to truly help local businesses who are suffering because workers cannot afford to live in Key West. They are moving out! And now we’re all suffering because we cannot get decent services in our community.

Peary Court could’ve been a co-op for the local businesses to run – to allocate housing for their workers.

A unique idea that works in other countries. Call it socialism, call it communism, call it whatever you want but call it a great idea to fix the problem we have now. Because we’re in trouble.

Or another option was for the city to purchase Peary Court and keep it for its own housing rental exclusively for local workers only. Think about how much money was spent for City Hall to relocate at Glen Archer school. Over $26 million spent (another Craig Cates idea).

Craig Cates was mayor how many years? And he gets the idea to purchase Peary Court when the price doubled?

So now we have another unaffordable, “affordable” housing that does not service the workers who support our communities. People are stressed because they have to work two to three jobs to afford to live here. But now, more than ever, people are leaving the keys to find a better life elsewhere.

$2,250 for a 2 bedroom apartment, $3,000 for a 3 bedroom, and they call it “affordable.”

It’s been proven that you cannot build your way out of the affordable housing crisis. Just look at Key West.

So here’s another important message.

Truman Annex will have their transient licenses expire in just over two years. The City of Key West should not extend their transient licenses, and we should start campaigning for this.

People understood when they purchased those Truman Annex town houses that the transient licenses would expire at a certain date. They were bought mostly for investments and that’s what’s killing us.

People making big money off housing to tourists.

They should use Truman Annex for the local workers, and that’s how you can fix housing for local workers. Or you only allow permanent residents who live here year-round the ability to purchase a house. This is how it use to be, when our community was thriving with locals, spirit, we knew who our neighbors were, etc.

Stop allowing homes to be investments.

That’s what I think!