For months in east Naples, people have been struggling to find somewhere to live that’s not going to break the bank.
The devastation left by Hurricane Ian makes it nearly impossible now.
Wet, soggy piles of destruction line the streets of the neighborhoods off Shadowlawn Drive in east Naples.
Alex Montoya’s home is unlivable, many of his family’s things are in piles of ripped-up debris, including his children’s backyard playground.
“Oh yeah, I got three kids. One-year-old, another one three years, and another one six years,” Montoya said.
Montoya is trying his best with the help of family and friends to get it back in livable condition.
In the meantime, He, his partner, and three kids are all staying in a friend’s living room.
“Doing the best that we can you know,” Montoya said.
For some, the best they can means they have nowhere to live. Ian’s surge hit Collier County’s small pockets of affordable housing hard.
Lisa Lefkow, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Collier County said, “it really took a toll on some of the older neighborhoods and neighborhoods that are perhaps more low lying, and often pockets of poverty.”
Lefkow said affordable housing was a problem before Ian hit.
“And now where we’ve where we’ve displaced people for, you know, needing to have time to do repairs or to recover, that there’s no place for them to go, we didn’t have a place for folks to go before,” Lefkow said.
Joe Trachtenberg is the head of Collier County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.
“So if we had a horrible situation three weeks ago, I don’t know what the right adjective is. But it’s a worse that horrible situation today,” Trachtenberg said.
Trachtenberg said Collier County officials haven’t agreed to bring trailers in yet.
“People are in shelters. Without homes, and honestly, I don’t know what they’re going to do. So, the Red Cross is active, the Salvation Army is active, and FEMA is. They are putting people in shelters they are trying to find motels for people to stay in temporarily. But we’re aware there are a lot of people that are in their cars and are on waiting lists to get into shelters. It’s a very difficult situation,” Trachtenberg said.
Saint Matthews house is taking as many people into their shelter as possible. But they had a waiting list before the storm that has now become even longer.