HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours low-income housing in Fort Myers

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Renaissance Preserve. Photo via WINK News

Communities like the Renaissance Preserve, a low-income area on Romeo Lane, are needed for so many people living in Fort Myers, especially during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson made a special trip to Southwest Florida to tour the housing at Renaissance Preserve – and he liked what he saw.

Renaissance Preserve is home to about 400 families, making it one of the largest affordable housing complexes in Southwest Florida. You may never have been in or even passed by the quiet, understated neighborhood.

William Brown, though, thanks the heavens for the community every day. His sister, 72 years old, doesn’t have much money and can’t move around much, so she lives in and really relies on the affordable housing.

“A lot of other people can’t afford to live anywhere else because a lot of other places, it’s just tremendously high,” Brown said. “These projects help out a lot of people.”

Carson is a believer. He toured three affordable housing communities Wednesday in Fort Myers.

“I remember when I was a child, what it felt like not to have housing security,” the secretary said.

So, he said he felt good seeing money from his department fund quality and necessary affordable housing. That’s when WINK News asked him for his take on a recent tweet by President Donald Trump, who said suburban housewives would vote for him because he stopped low-income housing from invading their neighborhoods.

“He’s talking about the fact that you have a bunch of bureaucrats in D.C. telling various municipalities how they’re supposed to run themselves,” Carson responded.

Brown doesn’t care who runs what. What he cares about is that affordable housing helps people pay bills, feed their families and stay safe.

“Crime rate has truly dropped,” Brown said. “The kids out here, I like to see them the way they play. They don’t have to worry about getting run over by a car or get shot by a gun or anything like that.”

Another Renaissance Preserve resident, Marcus LeBron, said it’s an opportunity, one that he struggled to find after being released from prison.

With two felony charges on his record, getting back on his feet hasn’t been easy. LeBron said he has struggled to find an apartment and a job, but Renaissance Preserve has given him a chance to start over while allowing him to live comfortably financially.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.