On Tuesday, May 9th, we held a land dedication ceremony in the Heritage Heights neighborhood, marking the launch of a unique collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will provide temporary housing for families displaced due to Hurricane Ian.
Habitat staff, volunteers and community leaders joined representatives with FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers near the site’s property line on Golden Journey Road in Fort Myers. The ceremony included a blessing of the land and prayer for Hurricane Ian survivors who will be housed on the property.
“We are truly grateful for the opportunity to support the families still displaced by Hurricane Ian through this important FEMA project,” says Becky Lucas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. “At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home, and we are committed to helping those in need, especially in times of crisis.”
In search of available land for a temporary housing community, FEMA reached out to us about establishing an agreement to lease a portion of undeveloped property within phase two of the Heritage Heights development. The lease will allow FEMA to provide and maintain temporary housing on the property until families can safely return home. The site will include a separate road to access housing units for 58 families, enclosed by a privacy fence.
Located in Harlem Heights, our Heritage Heights neighborhood is northwest of HealthPark Medical Center and offers residents a quick work commute to Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Cape Coral and Fort Myers. The location also provides convenient access to public transportation, hospitals and medical centers while increasing economic opportunities for residents.
“We are thrilled to partner with Habitat for Humanity on this project and deeply grateful for their support,” says FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Robert Fogel. “This collaboration is a true win-win situation for all parties involved, including Habitat for Humanity, FEMA and Lee County. Most importantly, it’s a huge win for the families that are still suffering and dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Ian. This temporary housing site will provide a safe and secure environment for those still displaced, so they can get back on their feet to where they were before the storm.”
In Lee County, FEMA has provided $468 million to families and survivors of Hurricane Ian. Of those needing FEMA temporary housing options, 66% are homeowners who suffered the loss or significant damage to their homes, and the remaining 34% are renters. As a faith-based housing ministry, our hope is to work alongside those homeowners through hurricane recovery home repairs and renters by offering a path to affordable homeownership.