In the News

A year after Irma, Catholics in Big Pine Key glimpse the future

October 19, 2018
BIG PINE KEY | Rowena Garcia-Frank first moved to the Florida Keys with her husband in the 1990s, both working as environmental consultants and starting a family as members of St. Peter the Fisherman Church. Last year, when Hurricane Irma landed... READ MORE

St. Peter parishioner promotes affordable housing initiative

October 19, 2018
BIG PINE KEY | Maggie Whitcomb, seasonal parishioner at St. Peter the Fisherman Church here, said Hurricane Irma was the worst natural disaster she ever experienced... READ MORE

A year after Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys 'still a world of hurt'

September 11, 2018
BIG PINE KEY, Fla. –  As the Carolinas brace for a monstrous Category 4 hurricane marching their way, many still remember the last powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland one year ago today... READ MORE

Affordable housing dedicated in Big Pine Key
Non-profit, Catholic groups team up to replace mobile homes destroyed by Irma

September 10, 2018
Maggie Whitcomb, founder of the Florida Keys Community Land Trust, speaks at the dedication of the first of four Keys Cottages, permanent, affordable housing for workers in the Keys... READ MORE

Hurricane Irma: Unseen by tourists, thread of Keys’ society unraveling

September 8, 2018
A year after Hurricane Irma battered the Florida Keys, the iconic island chain is open for business, beckoning tourists in search of candy-coated sunsets, tropical solace — their lost shaker of salt... READ MORE

Florida Community Land Trust Makes Affordable Housing Part of Hurricane Recovery

September 5, 2018
Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition, remembers the exact moment in September 2017 that she connected with Maggie Whitcomb, who was soon to become the founder of... READ MORE

New Florida Keys Cottages Are Storm-Proof Affordable Housing

August 31, 2018
It's been nearly a year since Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys, but many are still struggling to recover.
Alicia Miller had her home destroyed in the storms. While she’s working a full-time job, she can’t afford to live in the kind of home she lived in before... READ MORE

New Florida Keys Cottages Are Storm-Proof Affordable Housing

August 27, 2018
The Florida Keys are known for their appeal to tourists eager to escape to Margaritaville and fish or snorkel in turquoise waters. Like other tourist destinations... READ MORE

Ribbon Cut On First 'Maggie House'

August 22, 2018
Maggie Whitcomb, founder of Florida Keys Land Trust, cut the ribbon of the first of many affordable rental properties in the Lower Keys with the help of partnerships throughout the community and her dedicated... READ MORE

Tiny House In The Florida Keys Brings Hope To A Workforce Still Displaced

August 21, 2018
Nearly one year after Irma slammed into the Florida Keys, workers who prop up the community's tourism industry are still struggling to find housing. Thousands of homes were destroyed in the storm... READ MORE

Community land trusts are a new option in rental market

August 17, 2018
Cities around the world facing a serious lack of affordable housing are exploring new ideas to address the problem. One emerging trend is... READ MORE

‘You’ve got to start somewhere.’ Nonprofit unveils a new home in the wake of Irma

August 16, 2018
A priest Thursday blessed this vacant newly built house, a modest two-bedroom that stands high on stilts in a neighborhood badly beaten down by Hurricane Irma nearly a year ago... READ MORE

In Post-Irma Keys, One Tiny New Home Is Cause For Major Celebration

August 16, 2018
One little cottage of less than 800 square feet got a lot of attention - and even a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The home, in the Avenues neighborhood of Big Pine Key, was the first... READ MORE

'Keys cottages' are arriving in a working-class neighborhood hit hard by Irma

July 03, 2018
A Big Pine Key neighborhood badly battered by Hurricane Irma is about to get some relief.
The Avenues community housed some of the... READ MORE

Solution in Motion

June, 14 2018
It’s easy to see how the raised shell of a house at 31462 Ave. E on Big Pine Key will soon be a home. The studs are bare within the 760-square-foot house, but standing in the spacious living room... READ MORE

No vacancy: Housing crisis dogs Florida Keys months after Irma

June, 14 2018
For eight months Terri Metter has made her home in a government trailer parked along a debris-clogged canal in the Florida Keys and she considers herself lucky since... READ MORE

New Keys Cottages Provide One Model For Post-Irma Affordable Housing

June, 11 2018
The Avenues neighborhood on Big Pine Key was one of the cheapest places to buy or rent in the Keys for a reason: it has a lot of... READ MORE

Grim upside for the Keys this hurricane season — thanks to Irma, there's less to lose

June, 02 2018
Hurricane Irma took Dirk Lockard's truck, his tools, his house — "it folded like a house of cards" — and turned the working class island he'd called home for the past 16 years... READ MORE

Keys residents still living in FEMA trailers as new hurricane season begins

May 31, 2018
Hurricane season starts tomorrow. But parts of the Florida Keys still look like Hurricane Irma just hit... WATCH VIDEO

In Florida Keys, land trust aims to bring affordable housing back post-hurricane

May 11, 2018
Celebrated as a sunny, laid-back paradise, the Florida Keys, and its reputation as a tourist hub, mask serious housing affordability issues. The archipelago of islands strung out into the Caribbean, filled with an increasing number of high-end... READ MORE

2 projects move ahead, others are planned

May 4, 2018
Two worker housing projects in the Lower Keys are steadily moving forward, with construction of one well underway and funding approval for another... READ MORE 

Cure for the crisis?

April 27, 2018
Local officials are calling Monroe County’s shortage of affordable housing a “crisis,” one that trickles down into other areas of the unique economy of the Florida Keys.
“I don’t think we’re cognizant yet of how much of a crisis this really is,” said Mayor David Rice... READ MORE

County, trust unite for housing

April 21, 2018
The Monroe County Commission agreed Thursday to partner with the Florida Keys Community Trust to build four new rental homes for workers on Big Pine Key and discussed converting... READ MORE

Group rebuilding Keys after Irma

March 24-25, 2018
A new Florida Keys non-profit group that was started after Hurricane Irma has already purchased 16 properties targeted for worker housing... READ MORE

Katrina Cottages now a Keys thing

March 20, 2018
The first three Florida “Keys Cottages” are set to break ground at the end of the month in one of the hardest hit areas in Big Pine Key, the Avenues.
“We really wanted to see this vision through in the Keys,” said Marianne Cusato, designer and developer of Katrina Cottages... READ MORE

Six months after Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys residents still scrambling for affordable housing

March 9, 2018
A lack of affordable housing was a problem throughout the Keys long before Irma hit. Ever-increasing land values forced working-class residents to move farther from their jobs or to abandon the Keys completely... READ MORE

Nonprofit formed to tackle housing

December 20, 2017
BIG TORCH KEY — With the push to build affordable housing seemingly gaining momentum following Hurricane Irma, a family who considers the Florida Keys an extension of their home has committed $1 million to a new nonprofit... READ MORE

It was hard to find cheap housing in the Keys before Irma. Now, there’s ‘nothing’

December 11, 2017
After Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys, many residents were cautiously optimistic: Key West, the biggest tourist draw and economic engine, had survived with minimal damage.  The hope was for a fast return to normal... READ MORE

Kristen Bell Rode Out Hurricane Irma In Florida, Singing With Nursing Home Evacuees

September 13, 2017
Actress Kristen Bell said she was making lemonades out of Hurricane Irma after the devastating storm left her stuck in Orlando, Florida... READ MORE
Photo by Nick Doll