IMMOKALEE — A little more than four years after Hurricane Irma devastated much of what was already substandard housing in Immokalee, the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance (IFHA) is breaking ground on what will become a 128 rental unit community for farmworker and other low-income residents. The groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the project will be held on their Lake Trafford Road property in Immokalee on November 10, 2021, at 10 a.m. Dr. Arol Buntzman, Board Chair of the nonprofit Alliance, will preside, with Collier County Commissioner William McDaniel serving as keynote speaker. The public is invited to attend.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in December 2022. Upon completion, the full project will include a community center and athletic fields.
“The ripple effect in Immokalee will be economic growth and stability,” said Dr. Buntzman. “Our community should serve as a model for others who wish to provide affordable housing for low-income families in Immokalee and elsewhere.”
Dr. Buntzman explains that many of these families are currently paying 60% or more of their combined income to live in dilapidated trailers, often shared with another family. He indicated that rent for the planned units will be less than 30% of family income, freeing up resources for medical care, clothing, food, and other necessities.
The project is being funded solely through donations from supporters and other concerned community members, including several churches throughout the region and a recent grant of $100,000 from Bank of America. For more information, please email IFHAFL@comcast.net.
With the assistance and required approvals from the Immokalee Community Development Agency, Collier County Planning Department and the Collier County Board of County Commissioners, IFHA has purchased 10 acres of land on Lake Trafford Road in Immokalee and begun work on infrastructure. Boral Engineering and Design, Inc. was commissioned to create the Master Plan, assist with the rezoning, and develop the specifications for infrastructure work and permitting. LAI Architectural Group are developing the plans and specifications for the buildings. The General Contractor is Heatherwood Construction.