Central Florida is at a crossroads. Ten years ago would have been a great time for a few strong, decisive steps to have improved the trajectory of the housing situation our region now faces. But ten years ago, it didn’t seem like the crisis it does today.
Without strong, decisive, coordinated action across the region, our situation will continue to worsen, dragging down our quality of life and limiting business and economic growth.
Ten years ago, cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles faced this same decision point – and didn’t act swiftly, strongly, and comprehensively enough. Their present housing and human crises are Central Florida’s not-so-distant future.
But our crossroads offers another, better path: Where we act with strong, shared purpose. Where what we love about our neighborhoods, our communities is celebrated, while we recognize and weave in the growth that is our strength.
Our regional housing initiative (we’re calling it the Central Florida Regional Housing Trust for now – but stay tuned!) was created to map the path to that better future, where everyone in our region lives in a home they love, close to a good job, a good school for their kids, a grocery store, a doctor’s office, a park – at a price that fits comfortably in their budget, whether they’re working their first job out of college and living with roommates, moving into their own place as they move up in a career, finding a partner and starting and growing a family, or downsizing later in life but still staying in a familiar, comfortable neighborhood.
We’ll do this by engaging voices throughout the region, and expertise from all over, in this effort, so we put each unique neighborhood’s priorities front and center, while learning from the best of what other communities have done. And we’ll use that input to guide and measure our progress along the way.
It won’t be easy. We’re a region of complexity and contrasts: downtowns and suburbs and rural areas; tourists, transplants, and multi-generation locals; businesses and academia and government and nonprofits and faith communities; many colors, many languages, many creeds, many situations and circumstances, with different needs and wants and dreams.
We need all these sectors and all these voices engaged and pulling together – and dissenting sometimes too – to transform our shared future – because we know what the alternative is, and it’s not what we want for our home.
We need stories, numbers, data, policies, dollars, expertise, capacity, organizations, people, of course. But most of all?
This is your home. We need YOU.