Immokalee begins adding affordable housing on Lake Trafford Rd

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

One group is tackling Southwest Florida’s housing crisis by building affordable housing for low-income families in Immokalee.

The Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance is celebrating the construction of the first of eight new apartment buildings for low-income families. CEO Arol Buntzman couldn’t be happier to give fresh starts to families needing homes.

“Today is exciting because the walls of the first building are going up; that means that before the end of the year, 16 families are going to be able to move in,” Buntzman said. “To see the faces of the children that have endured living in these old, dilapidated shacks and trailers… so exciting to see that the dream of being able to provide decent, safe, affordable housing for them is coming true.”

Category 5 hurricane-resistant rental complex on Lake Trafford Road.

The Category 5 hurricane-resistant rental complex on Lake Trafford Road will include 128 two- and three-bedroom apartments, along with a community center for meetings, after-school programs, health care assistance, and more. A wall-raising ceremony was held on Wednesday.

“Affordable housing is the key to so much, so many things from education, to healthcare, to your mental stability, and so I’m just very excited to be here this morning to celebrate this,” said Jamie Ulmer, CEO of Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida.

The people who will eventually call the corner of Lake Trafford Road and North 19th Street home are just as excited, and they even got to sign the walls of the first building to go up.

Rent at these apartment complexes in Immokalee will be capped at 30% of a family’s household income.

“The missing link to help low-income, hardworking families with children escape from poverty, and exploitation is having safe, affordable housing,” Buntzman said.

On Wednesday, Buntzman joined with many others in celebrating the construction of the first of eight new apartment buildings for low-income families in Immokalee.

“I can’t even explain how happy I am. It’s very nice, you know,” said Ashley Roblero, a future resident of the complex.

Right now, Roblero lives in a packed house with her stepdad, mom, sister, brother, and three cousins.

This neighborhood will be more than just a place to live. It’s an opportunity for people like Roblero to grow.

“I don’t have a bigger area, so I have to sleep very tight, I guess. So, it is kind of hard to study when I try to find a nice place,” Roblero said. “There’s going to be like a little community center in there. There’s going to be little fun games and stuff, so that would be nice. To hang out with other people and the rest of my family and everything.”

The goal is for 16 families to move into their new homes by the end of 2023.

You can learn more about the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance by clicking here.

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