Affordable housing a struggle for some in Charlotte County

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Affordable housing is proving to be an uphill battle for hundreds of people in Charlotte County.

“My God, it’s a year waiting list. So what should you do, especially if you have children?” said Sophia Pringle who knows the struggle firsthand. “I mean you have to go and find a hotel that is reasonable and also you don’t want to eat Ramen noodles every night.”

The demand is so high, places like the Punta Gorda Housing Authority have closed off their waiting list. Yet dozens of calls still come in.

Those who made the cut have to wait more than two years to get a spot.

“It’s hard to get in here, as soon as somebody be out somebody is in here,” Pringle said.

The average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Punta Gorda is roughly $1,100. For many people, the cost doesn’t fit the budget. That’s why affordable housing rates as low at $600 are a hot ticket.

“You gotta accommodate for your children and got to get a job and try to keep money aside just in case something opens,” Pringle described.

The problem with affordable housing is even worse among the elderly in Charlotte County. The Verandas of Punta Gorda, a project currently under construction and expected to open at the end of this year, will give 140 seniors a place to live.

The City of Punta Gorda is spending $200,000 to covert the entire Andrews building into affordable housing, but the program will only house 15 people.

Construction is set to begin at the Andrews Building this fall and residents are expected to be able to move in by the end of the year.

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