Nonprofit building hurricane-resistant housing for low-income families in Collier County

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A Southwest Florida group aims to build affordable hurricane-resistant housing for low-income local families.

The Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance has been working since Hurricane Irma to get this type of housing to people in Collier County.

Although a total of 128 families will live in the area the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance is setting up, it’s more than just housing, they’re building a community.

A new rental complex on Lake Trafford Road in Immokalee will include two and three-bedroom apartments. The community will also have a community center to hold meetings, offer healthcare assistance, and more.

Arol Buntzman is the CEO of the Fair Housing Alliance. Buntzman told WINK News this is all possible thanks to grants and private philanthropic support.

Rendition of the new hurricane-resistant homes. CREDIT: Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance

“The housing is more than a place to live… it affects the entire life, it affects the future of the people,” Buntzman said.

But, at the end of the day, seeing the poor housing conditions many of the people living in the community had to put up with made him want to do something about it.

“It provides an opportunity for 128 families to have a decent life, but it uplifts the entire community. It shows that it can be done,” Buntzman said.

The community’s rental rates will be capped at no more than 30% of a family’s household income. The goal is for construction to be done by late 2023.

Rendition of one of the homes. CREDIT: Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance

Yesenia Bartolon will be one of the first people to move into the community. And it’s fair to say she’s more than excited about it.

“Having a new home will be like… it’s all hope for now. Having a better living, not only for us but for other families too,” Bartolon said.

The people who live here will be part of naming this place and managing it, meaning they will have a say about what’s happening in their very own community.

Click here for more information on Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.