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Greater Fort Myers Chamber to explore workforce housing at Oct. 21 luncheon

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 21 will explore workforce housing in Southwest Florida.

Attendees of the luncheon will hear from a panel of guest speakers, including Becky Lucas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Phillip Ford, executive vice president of the Lee Building Industry Association, Shannon Lane, director of Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers, and Jennifer Warner, director of economic development for Florida Realtors. The panel will be moderated by John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office.

The panel of experts will discuss the urgent issues surrounding affordable workforce housing, housing costs, availability, funding and solutions to ensure that Southwest Florida is always able to recruit and retain top talent in industries across the board. Attendees will learn more about navigating the tide of the current market and ways to set you and your employees up for future success and security.

Lucas has served Habitat for Humanity in various roles for over 20 years with titles such as director of construction, vice president of community outreach and her current role, chief executive officer. Out of 1,200 Habitat offices in the country, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties is consistently ranked in the top three of affordable home producers, having served over 1,700 low-income families through affordable homeownership. Lucas has also held former roles as associate director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy and director of the Children’s Hunger Alliance in Columbus, Ohio.

Ford is the executive vice president of the Lee Building Industry Association. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president for the Charleston Home Builders Association and government affairs director for the Atlanta Home Builders Association. Ford has worked in the building industry for over 25 years and been engaged in the affordable housing discussions on both the private and nonprofit side. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Troy University.

Lane is the director of Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers, where she furthers neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing efforts within the community. A sixth-generation native Floridian, Lane previously served as the director of Jobs Plus for the Housing Authority, implementing a program to promote hiring advantages for area residents. She also spent more than 20 years in the field of youth development through past roles with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County, the City of Fort Myers and Lee County.

Warner is an economist and the director of economic development for Florida Realtors, where she oversees numerous economic and statistical research projects, as well as relays pertinent information on topics including opportunity zones and land use. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of South Florida and her master’s degree in urban policy and planning from Tufts University. Prior to joining Florida Realtors, Warner served the City of Los Altos as economic development manager and CoStar as a real estate economist.

Hosted in partnership with the Lee Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), the luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Myers-Estero, located at 10450 Corkscrew Commons Drive in Estero. Admission is $25 for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber or FRLA and $35 for future members. Limited seating is available, and attendees must register in advance by visiting FortMyers.org or calling 239-332-2930.

The October event is sponsored by the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association.

About the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce:
Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization of professionals who support and promote a progressive, sustainable community. The Chamber represents over 750 businesses, professionals, and individuals throughout Lee County, providing opportunities for members to participate in a variety of meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is located at 2310 Edwards Drive in downtown Fort Myers. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events please call 239-332-2930 or visit www.fortmyers.org. For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gfmcc or Twitter at @FtMyersChamber.

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