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14 families will get to build their own affordable homes in Bonita Springs

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Nov 16, 2023

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — There's a new community in Bonita Springs off Neighborly Lane and Empowerment Place nestled in Carolina Cove.

These street names were chosen by Habitat for Humanity's latest affordable housing site, which will be completed by 14 units.

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"Over the last several years we have had more people than ever in our history come to Habitat for housing help," Becky Lucas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Henry Counties said.

She says the shortage of affordable housing in Southwest Florida worsened with COVID-19 and Hurricane Ian.

"Last year alone we had over 2,000 families, walk in our door looking for Habitat to help them find an affordable place to live," she said.

Thursday morning, a crowd of people and local leaders came to the site to bless this land and dedicate it to 14 families who will soon call it home.

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They all will have a hand in building the units. Each family will have to contribute 300 hours in sweat equity.

"That gives pride to the homeowner, that gives pride to our organization, it gives pride to our city, it's just such a blessing," Jesse Purdon, Bonita Spring's District 2 Councilman said.

Habitat is the mortgage lender, developer, and builder.

The organization's leaders say it's working to help the housing market after a year of rebuilding from Ian.

"That's only 12 months ago, so when you look at it now, we've made a tremendous amount of progress," Lee County's District 3 Commissioner, Ray Sandelli said.

These families will always pay 30% of their gross household income.

"In that way, it can always be affordable, it's a zero percent interest mortgage," Lucas said.

The project's completion date is not yet set in stone but one family has been selected to start the process so far. Lucas says the other 13 will be chosen soon.