Highlands County Secures $62,500 in Grant Funding From Florida DEO
Highlands County secured two grants from the Competitive Florida Partnership and Community Planning Technical Assistance grant programs offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
The Board of County Commissioners’ Planning Department was awarded a $40,000 Technical Assistance grant to fund the development of a Financial Feasibility Analysis and a Housing Market Study as well as draft amendments to the Housing Element, Future Land Use Element, and the Future Land Use Map Series of the County’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan to implement the findings of the Housing Study.
Numerous employers, the local hospitals, local college and school district have expressed difficulty in hiring and retaining employees due to the lack of housing choices within the county.
In efforts to address this situation, the county will use the housing study to show the present and future demand for housing, and the financial feasibility assessment will demonstrate the minimum residential densities needed to ensure construction of housing is financially feasible.
A housing shortage is not unique to Highlands County, and it is a situation that many communities are dealing with across the state and nation. Being able to provide housing for a diverse labor force is essential for a community’s economic vitality as well as its economic competitiveness. A variety of good housing options and attractive neighborhoods will help the county attract and retain businesses and employees.
Highlands County was also awarded a Competitive Florida grant of $22,500. The Competitive Florida Partnership helps a community value the assets that makes it special and challenges it to set realistic goals for advancing its economic development visions. A community that participates in this technical assistance opportunity is committed to innovative strategies that promote partnerships, community design, and a viable economy.
“These are great tools that will help economic development in our community,” said Benjamin Dunn, Development Services Director. “There are many factors that contribute to a community’s economy. We cannot progress unless we continuously work to keep these components linked and address issues as they arise. The Competitive Florida grant will help strengthen our community and the Technical Assistance grant will help us develop a community that has a variety of housing options and vibrant neighborhoods.”
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