FORT MYERS, Fla. — City council members have voted to approve an ordinance that would lay the groundwork for an affordable housing trust fund.
“This is a Neil Armstrong moment… on July 20th, 1969. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," posited Mayor Kevin Anderson in the chamber after the motion passed.
It was one small step that was nearly three years in the making.
That ordinance would help low-income residents, but the Mayor says it would also help another rung on the income ladder, something that he calls "the missing middle", who also struggle to find affordable housing.
But who are they?
“Nurses, teachers, firefighters, those entry-level professional jobs that don’t really pay a lot," explains Mayor Anderson.
Many of the finer details of the plan, like how much of the city budget will be allocated to the fund, are yet to be decided.
But after years debating the project, the mayor says that the seemingly small step of creating the fund is needed.
“It’s a small impact to start. But it’s an impact that hasn’t happened yet. So hopefully it’s an impact that we’re going to grow to where it is very impactful on the community."
William Glover is a senior pastor and member of LIFE (Lee Interfaith of Empowerment).
It's the organization that's been pushing for the creation of the fund over the last three years.
For him, that small step was monumental.
“It is a very good start, but a start nonetheless. You heard the dialogue, there’s still a lot of work to be done to flesh out some of the details, important details of the ordinance," explains Glover.
He's hoping the project will help get housing to those who really need it.
“We can’t lose sight of the goal of the ordinance. It is to be an affordable housing trust fund. Not a workforce housing trust fund, not a trust fund for developers to come be a part of strictly for economic reasons," he says.
City Council indicated in the meeting that they will be meeting with the local affordable housing advisory committee in March to discuss what the next steps should be.