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Lee County announces new "Lee Cares Plan" to address housing needs

Money from federal grant to help with Ian damage, elevating homes
Posted at 10:08 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 22:08:40-05

A new program aimed at assisting residents of Lee County with home repairs related to Hurricane Ian has been announced. The "Lee Cares Plan" offers financial assistance to those still grappling with the aftermath of the disaster.

The plan is funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. It targets three main areas: home repairs, home ownership, and relocation assistance for those in flood zones.

Approximately a quarter of the allocated funds are already in place ready to help eligible Lee County residents who meet specific income guidelines.

Sheila Dortch, a resident of Harlem Heights, expressed her relief at the announcement.

"We're looking forward to someone helping us get our home back in shape. With everything we've lost, it's been tough," Dortch said.

Like many others, Dortch has managed with minimal assistance, having only sheetrock donated for her home, with all other repair expenses coming out of her pocket.

She recalled just some of the damage she needed to repair.

"Roof damage, the tin came up off the roof, the porch kind of lifted up and almost flew off. Just everything," she stated.

Applications for the program are set to open on February 1st, with a special focus on assisting those with lower incomes. The assistance includes home repairs, elevations, and even up to $75,000 for home buying.

Recipients are required to reside in the assisted home for at least five years, with Lee County implementing a soft mortgage that decreases by 20 percent each year.

For more information on the program and application details, visit LeeFLCares.com.