Fighting for affordable housing in Lee County

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:

Whether you are a first responder or a teacher, living in Southwest Florida can put a strain on your bank account.

That’s the reality for a military veteran and his wife who live inside an RV. They are looking for an affordable home. Hundreds of people packed a meeting Tuesday to fight for more affordable places to live.

”The whole idea of just having to move place to place,” Karen Feinen said, “it’s frighting.”

Feinen and Keith Hamlin know that feeling all too well. Hamlin is a disabled veteran who needs a cane to get around. Since Feinen has physical disabilities too, it is hard to make ends meet.

After months of moving around and searching for an affordable place to live, the couple finally found a residence they could afford in a Lee County RV park. Then, Hurricane Irma hit.

”Then, all of a sudden, plans just instantly changed,” Hamlin said.

“Because of the water it let in, it damage the floors,” Feinen said.

”In a heartbeat there, we were basically homeless,” Hamlin said

“It was five months couch surfing with our kitty cat,” Feinen said.

There was nowhere the two could afford to live until they could fork out the money for their damaged trailer.

A crowd of hundreds of people came together Tuesday evening to support the need for more affordable housing and children services in Fort Myers.

In front of the mayor of Fort Myers, speakers stressed the importance of having a trust fund built to back more affordable housing in the city. It is now something the mayor said he would look into.

“At least let the costs of housing to some extent and to help ensure that affordable housing does get built,” Hamlin said.

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