Attainable Workforce Housing Coalition of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce has started an Attainable Workforce Housing Coalition to build support and educate the public on the vital need that exists. Attracting and retaining a qualified workforce is critical to sustaining the local economy in St. Johns County. The essential members of that workforce support the quality of life in St. Johns County — they protect us and keep us safe, care for our health, educate our children, and are the faces we see in the businesses we frequent. Unfortunately, many of these essential workers in our community cannot afford to live here due to the lack of available housing at attainable prices. The Workforce Housing Coalition of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce is asking for your support to advocate for incorporating sustainable solutions into the St. Johns County Comprehensive Plan to ensure more opportunities for attainable workforce housing.

When considering solutions for attainable workforce housing, we can explore a range of options for both short-term and long-term solutions, taking into consideration financial resources, local market conditions, and community support. The current gap between the median home price and what one essential worker could afford is insurmountable. For example, a St. Johns County teacher would need to earn more than three times their average wage to afford a home at the median price of more than $500,000.

Additionally, inventory of homes for both purchase and rent is low across the county. This shortage forces essential workers to find housing outside the county and commute daily, causing increased traffic and wear on the major transportation arteries. It also places an additional burden on those needing dependent care.

While there is no single solution to this issue, several communities around Florida and the United States have implemented new policies and incentives to address their attainable housing challenges, and St. Johns County can look to these for examples of solutions to implement locally. A comprehensive approach will involve a combination of options tailored to our community’s specific context and requirements, and for solutions to be sustainable, they must become the cornerstone of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Attainable Housing Coalition is committed to working with builders and developers, local business leaders, financial institutions, and government partners to address the needs of our essential workers now and into the future.

To learn more and sign the business or individual coalition letter, visit the Attainable Workforce Housing Website.