Fort Myers City Council assessing need for an affordable housing trust fund

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A digital image of a possible location for affordable housing in Fort Myers. Credit: WINK News

The Fort Myers City Council will try to figure out who exactly qualifies for affordable housing on Monday. Lots of people are looking for housing but there is not enough housing that people can afford.

Tedia Noney said that is the problem that caused her son to be homeless when he moved to Fort Myers a few years ago.

Noney said, “he made a decent living, he made about $30,000 a year. I think people making that amount of money should be able to afford housing, but he struggled finding a place to stay. He lived in his car for a while is very hard to watch.”

Noney’s son eventually moved out of state to find cheaper housing, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have to do that. That’s why she and other leaders with Lee Interfaith for Empowerment, or L.I.F.E, are pushing the city of Fort Myers to establish an affordable housing trust fund.

Dr. William Glover, Senior Pastor at Mount Hermon Ministries, said, “there’s no shortage of people who are feeling the burden of keeping housing or are having to make tough choices between housing and food or housing in medication.”

“If you’re having to pay 50% of your salary on housing, you can’t get ahead, you can never get to a place where you could buy something, and you just can’t pay all your other bills,” said Carolyn Stanley, a representative with L.I.F.E.

If passed, the ordinance would help people at 100% of the area median income (AMI) and below.

That is around $50,000 for a one-person household, around $57,000 for households of two, $65,000 for three, and $72,000 for a four-person household.

65% of the funds will be for those at 80% of Lee County’s area median income or below.

Doctor Glover and other leaders with L.I.F.E. want more, if not all, of the funds to go towards those at 80% of Lee County’s area median income or below.

“We want to make certain that the best ordinance that can serve the people who need it the most,” said Glover.

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