Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have been in an affordable housing crisis for years. It’s a simple matter of limited supply and very high demand. Then, in September, Hurricane Irma destroyed or caused major damage to thousands of homes — more than 7 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed or suffered major damage.

It’s easy to see the effects of Hurricane Irma on land in the Florida Keys. But the impacts underwater were also significant — and may last longer.

The endangered Key deer herd was already coming out of a tough year — the herd lost more than 100 animals to New World screwworm.

So when the eye of Hurricane Irma crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 storm, wildlife managers were worried. The Lower Keys is also the only place on the planet where Key deer live.

But recently completed population surveys came up with good news, said Dan Clark, manager of the four national wildlife refuges in the Keys, including Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

Monroe County released a preliminary damage assessment of residential structures in the unincorporated parts of the county Wednesday. 

Florida Governor Rick Scott and elected officials in the Keys have one message: we’re open for business.  But the island chain is still recovering from Hurricane Irma.