As affordable housing continues to be a challenge in Florida, Walt Disney World has announced an effort to address the issue.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, the company is earmarking 80 acres of its land for an affordable housing development. The company indicated that they've been working on the initiative, which will include 1300 units, for some time. Units will be constructed by a third-party affording housing developer, and will be available for "qualifying applicants," including Disney cast members.
Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement:
“We are invested in working together with our community to solve complex issues. The lack of affordable housing is affecting many people across our country, including right here in Central Florida. With this initiative, we’re lending a hand to make a real and meaningful impact in our community by tapping into the best of our company’s strengths. This is the right opportunity and the right time to take action.”
In April of 2021, Universal Studios announced an affordable housing initiative called "Universal’s Housing for Tomorrow." Although no completion date has been set, work is set to begin at the end of 2022.
The Walt Disney initiative comes as rent prices in central Florida are soaring. Orlando and Miami rent prices led the nation in rental cost increases in the first couple of months of 2022. According to Rent.com the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Orlando increased 38% over the course of a year. According to Rent Cafe, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Orlando at around 960 square feet was $1820.