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Palm Beach County leaders discuss solutions to housing concerns as threat of crisis looms

As housing prices continue to skyrocket with no end in sight, renters and homeowners feel as though their future in West Palm Beach looks grimm.

It was that concern that galvanized local business owners who sat down to discuss the matter at an economic summit Thursday. During this meeting, business owners from small to large, along with non profit organizations, talked over the challenges and possible solutions to this dire problem, WPTV reports.

Steep increases in insurance premiums, rent cost and sever housing shortage have been a hot button issue for years.  However in recent months, the problem has only become more severe.  It is with that in mind, these community leaders plan to confront the problem head-on.

The crisis facing residents wont be solved in one day or with one piece of legislation, however.

According to Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker, what the county needs is to develop a variety of housing types. This includes homes and apartments with mixed incomes.

Jack Weir, the chairman of the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County, stated “Our urban corridors … and transit-oriented developments, they’ll need to be more density there as we become a more urbanized county with mass transit,”

Ann-Marie Batten, owner and agency principal of Batten Insurance Services, was quoted saying “One of the main reasons for that is the cost of homes,”. She went on to say “We all know how much our properties have gone up. Construction costs are up about 20% as well.”

This would be a cost that would be shared by the home buyers and renters as well.

In addition to impacting renters and homeowners, local businesses have seen a negative trend to their bottom line.

“We hear every day about our local businesses that are having difficulty attracting new workers to the area because it’s hard to find homes.” says the CEO of Wellington Regional Medical Center, Pam Tahan. “Many people lose candidates,”.

The next economic summit, to be held next month, continuing to address housing and including transportation issues facing the county.

Until then, costs will continue to rise, with insurance rates likley to reach 20-40% by next year.