The cost of housing in Bonita Springs and all over Lee County has risen exponentially in the last year since the start of the pandemic. In that time, the state of Florida has received high levels of transplants from other states like New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, and California. As more United States residents from all over the country continue to make their moves to Florida, housing demand rises, and the cost of home follows suit.
“We’re growing as a state and as a community,” says County Commissioner Ray Sandelli. “So, the need for housing at every price point is extremely important,” he continues. Already, the high cost of housing in Lee County forces more than 52,000 households to spend more than half of their limited income on a place to live. Those families who have already been struggling to afford housing need Habitat for Humanity now more than ever.
Each year, our organization makes audacious plans to build dozens of homes in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable shelter. By focusing on the development of larger pieces of land to establish affordable neighborhoods, we have the ability to build more homes, create stronger communities, and restore hope for local, lower-income residents. “I think it’s a great thing that Habitat does,” says State Representative Adam Botana, who is a long-time supporter of Habitat. “To get affordable housing is always an issue in Florida – it’s just so expensive,” he adds.
Currently, the critical need for affordable homes in Bonita Springs is particularly high. Fortunately, so is the level of support we receive from the Bonita Springs community. With that support, we’ve already begun developing the land for two affordable neighborhoods in the area. On Friday, May 7th, we had the opportunity to gather with residents, dignitaries, and business owners from Bonita Springs to bless the grounds for one of those upcoming affordable neighborhoods, which is located in Rosemary Park. Habitat stakeholders residing in Shadow Wood, Vi at Bentley Village, Bonita Bay, Pelican Landing and The Colony joined city, county and state elected officials as the neighborhood name was unveiled.
During the event, our Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Vince Modarelli acknowledged the crowd as the leaders, supporters and faces of affordable housing in Bonita Springs. “This place is a symbol of the partnerships that make Habitat work – the partnerships that make this place possible,” he said.
In total, nearly two dozen residents and community leaders from Bonita Springs attended the event at the Rosemary Park property, which we have officially named, Partnership Place. “I’m excited about this neighborhood because it’s right here in my district,” says District 2 City Counsel Person Jesse Purdon. “This district is important to me because I grew up right here in Rosemary Park, so I’m looking forward to representing the families that move into this neighborhood,” he continues.
Following Vince Modarelli’s address, we revealed the street sign with the neighborhood’s new name, Partnership Place. Then we circled together with the group of two dozen attendees to bless the grounds, the mission, and the community partners that made this neighborhood possible. With continued support from the community, we plan to begin building this neighborhood’s first homes by Fall 2021.
With the influx of new Florida residents and the continuous rise in housing costs, we need all the support we can get. Affordable homes and neighborhoods are built with donations from Bonita Springs residents, business owners and philanthropists.