Housing Need at Center of Polk’s State of the County

Polk County State of the County 2024 Livestream

What You Need To Know

  • Polk County State of the County address
  • The address, featuring multiple local officials, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.  Thursday
  • Officials said the top issue for Polk County is housing for its continued growth

UPDATED 7:24 AM ET APR. 25, 2024 PUBLISHED 6:40 AM ET APR. 25, 2024

LAKELAND, Fla. — Polk County is wedged between two fast growing cities: Tampa and Orlando.

The area has seen booming growth as people look for housing as well as more affordable cost of living options.

And affordable housing is one of the big challenges Polk County faces in its future. That’s why it will be one of the central messages during the State of the County address on Thursday

The address, featuring multiple local officials, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s PROCAP Room in Winter Haven. 

Polk Commission Chair Bill Braswell, one of the speakers, said in the past year, the county has chipped away at county service issues like trash collection and emergency response times.

Braswell said that happened while officials were able to lower property taxes.

But available affordable housing is the continuing challenge, Braswell said, adding that people moving to Polk need more options.

“I look at things like, we call them snuggle wides, they are half of a full-size mobile home, kind of like a mini-home,” Braswell said. “This mini-home thing is really popular. but we could house a lot of people and at very low rent if we could get somebody to come in here and develop out some of these properties.”

And population growth is not going away.

In fact, in an estimate last year from State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, she wrote, over the next 5 years, Florida could see 300,000 new residents per year.

That’s a net gain of around 800 people, per day, through 2029.

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