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Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance to open applications Feb. 22 for new community

First residents to move into new apartments in summer 2024

Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance will begin accepting applications on Feb. 22 for a new affordable apartment community being constructed in Immokalee.

During a symbolic signed wallboard installation on Feb. 16, Arol Buntzman, co-founder and chair of the nonprofit, announced that families soon will be able to prequalify for units. Demand is expected to be strong for the first units, which will be available this summer.

“There are probably 100 people wanting each apartment that is available,” Buntzman said. “Anybody that wants to move into a decent, safe, affordable apartment should get the application in as early as possible.”

The new Category 5 hurricane-rated rental complex at the northwest corner of Lake Trafford Road and 19th Street will include 128 two- and three-bedroom apartments, along with a community center for meetings, after-school programs, health care assistance and more. Many lower-income families in Immokalee are currently living in overcrowded and dilapidated shacks and trailers, with holes in the floor and walls, persistent mold, non-working toilets or appliances, and a lack of air conditioning.

Applications will be processed and evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis using a rating system. Priority will be given to families with children who already live in Immokalee, as well as those living in the worst conditions and paying the highest monthly rent.

“Those that need it the most will have the first shot,” Buntzman said.

The yet-to-be-named community will cap rents at no more than 30% of a family’s income. Much of the project’s cost derives from grants and private philanthropic support.

Applications will be available starting Thursday, Feb. 22 at B-Hive Flowers & Gifts, 720 N. 15th St.  in Immokalee. Completed applications should be returned to the same location.

Buntzman, along with the organization’s development chair, Carleton Cleveland III, helped fasten the final four pieces of drywall into place for the first of eight apartment buildings being constructed. Each piece contained signatures, prayers and messages of hope from community leaders, business partners and donors who attended a “Wall Raising” event in March 2023 to mark the start of construction.

 Additional project updates include:

  • Spring 2024: construction starts on second apartment building and children’s playground
  • Summer 2024: construction starts on third apartment building
  • Future: construction of five additional apartment buildings, community center and soccer field

To learn more about the community or make a secure donation, please visit ImmokaleeFairHousing.org.

Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance

The Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) created in 2018 by a group of concerned citizens who saw the damage done by Hurricane Irma to already substandard trailers and shacks rented by farmworker and other low-income families in Immokalee. The IFHA vision is for these families to have access to secure, affordable, hurricane-resistant rental housing, which will strengthen the community by fostering health, education, dignity and financial stability. The organization has embarked on a project to create community awareness and raise funds for a 128-rental unit complex in Immokalee. For more information, please visit ImmokaleeFairHousing.org.

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