SANIBEL, Fla. — When Hurricane Ian damaged nearly everything on Sanibel Island, it took away one of the few affordable housing complexes on the island.
The affordable housing complex once stood behind the 7-Eleven on Periwinkle Way. Community Housing and Resources partners with the city of Sanibel to offer affordable housing to the workforce and elderly. CHR had 76 affordable housing units on the island before Hurricane Ian.
Ten people lived in the Riverside Building. Each unit was a one bed, one bath. After the storm, all the residents got displaced.
Sanibel Mayor Richard Johnson said, “It’s a little bittersweet tearing this building down.”
Crews began to demolish the building Wednesday morning, so they can rebuild a new complex. CHR Executive Director Nicole McHale said the new building will be remodeled in a dorm style, one bed, one bad with communal living spaces.
“We need to support the individuals that are the backbone of our community and help them as much as they can,” McHale added.
The demolition of the building represents another step forward the Sanibel community must take in their effort to recovery.
“As people come back to the island, as our residents come back, as our businesses come back and rebuild having that workforce here on the island a part of the community is critically important,” said Mayor Johnson.
CHR said they hope to start rebuilding in the next few months.