Florida Keys will get $35 million to build workforce housing, Gov. DeSantis announces

Gov. Ron DeSantis came to the Florida Keys on Thursday to announce that Rebuild Florida will launch a workforce housing construction program statewide with $140 million.

The Keys will receive $35 million.

Also, state administrators said by next week Monroe County would receive $21 million in FEMA reimbursement for debris removal for Hurricane Irma cleanup. Irma swept through the Keys in September 2017. Debris removal cost the county $30 million.

DeSantis visited Marathon to make the announcements. It was his second visit to the Keys in two months.

“We knew coming into office there was a lot of aid that had not been distributed,” DeSantis said. “I’m happy to report that we’re delivering on that.”

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Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Marathon City Hall on June 20, 2019, to announce a new workforce housing construction program. Gwen Filosa FLKeysNews.com

Nearly 15,000 families in Florida have registered for Rebuild Florida, which began last fall to help rebuild and repair homes destroyed by Irma.

Workforce housing in the Keys became scarcer after Irma, as more than 3,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Rebuild Florida Workforce Housing is a partnership between the state Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Housing Finance Corp. to build new workforce housing.

Housing that workers could afford was already scarce, but the recent hurricanes, Irma and Michael, exacerbated the problem so this will be an important step in the recovery process, DeSantis said.

“Florida Housing will launch a competitive application cycle beginning in Monroe County allowing housing developers and public housing authorities with experience in this field to apply for funding,” he said.