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Housing development sees increase in applications as hurricane victims look for a new home

Posted at 9:17 PM, Oct 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-09 21:23:15-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The housing market was already struggling before Hurricane Ian. With the storm, it's making a bad situation worse as many families are now displaced because of it.

Soltura Development Group says they're seeing an increase in applicants at one of their properties, specifically people from Sanibel.

"It's pretty emotional for them to get through the process," said Arron Simon, co-founder of Soltura Development Group. "They just lost everything."

He says one property, Odyssey Homes, is seeing a significant amount of traffic, primarily from the Sanibel community. The homes are similar to small cottages, but the community is like an apartment complex.

Over the past week, Simon says nearly 30 people applied for a home and almost all of the applicants are hurricane victims.

"We have homes so that they can immediately come in and have a place. A place that they can call their own, which is a place to start from," Simon said.

There are many homes in the pipeline on the property. There are around 20 units under construction and Simon says about half are going to be full of people from Sanibel.

"I think there are about 50-55 units left of the 129 that are still available to rent throughout the rest of the year," Simon said.

Two out of three other construction projects around Lee County will not be done until mid-2023. Simon says he hopes by that time hurricane victims won't still be looking for a home.

"Given the amount of displacement, I would expect that they’re still going to be in need of homes," he said. "That’s kinda the key piece, right? They have somewhere that’s theirs for a period of time that they can start over with."