To the Editor:
The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve two measures to assist people affected by Hurricane Ian with housing needs.
The Board voted to approve an amendment to the 2023-2026 Local Housing Assistance Plan for demolition and reconstruction of single-family homes occupied by income-qualified households.
This strategy includes elevating existing homes located in a flood zone and determined to be in need of repairs in excess of 50 percent of value of the home due to hurricane damage. Hurricane Housing Recovery Program funding administered through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) will fund this effort.
The county is estimated to receive about $16.6 million in disaster funding for affordable housing through SHIP, the state’s affordable housing assistance program. The SHIP program places a priority on serving very low- income, low-income and special-needs households and requires that 65 percent of the funds be spent on home ownership activities. The proposed amendment will add to the already allowed home ownership strategies, which include new construction, purchase assistance, owner-occupied rehabilitation and disaster assistance.
Commissioners also approved agreements to provide Hurricane Housing Recovery Program funding totaling $8.2 million to nonprofit housing development organizations to assist households affected by Hurricane Ian. The program is solely funded by the State, administered in accordance with the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program. The funds will be used to assist 133 homeowners affected by Hurricane Ian with down payment assistance, owner-occupied rehabilitation, and demolition/reconstruction. The program places a priority on serving very low-income, low-income and special-needs households.
Eight nonprofit housing development organizations will receive funds, including Habitat for Humanity, Lee County Housing Development Corp., Affordable Homeownership Foundation and others.
For more information on State Housing Initiatives Partnership, go to leegov.com/dcd/planning/ship.
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Betsy Clayton, APR/CPRC
Lee County Government