Sarasota, Manatee County employers interested in workforce housing plan

Mark Vengroff, managing partner of One Stop Housing, shows off the plans for Sarasota Station, one of the company's workforce housing communities. Vengroff has worked for the past year with the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp on a proposal that would combine his company’s workforce housing model with investments from area employers for the creation of hundreds of new workforce units.

Many nights when Rachel Peace leaves her Manatee County office at Windward Design Group, she can see the company’s factory workers still waiting for rides or public transportation to North Port and Palmetto, hours after the end of their shifts.

In the company’s corporate offices, several entry-level mid-management positions sit empty, job candidates put off by the cost of housing nearby.

Both scenarios stem from the same problem, said Peace, Windward’s chief information officer: a dire shortage of workforce housing.  It has cut into the advantage that the family-owned company should have had as a domestic designer and manufacturer of patio furniture amid worldwide supply issues.


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