NAPLES AND IMMOKALEE — Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance has received a $20,000 grant from U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management of Naples. These funds will support the nonprofit’s mission to help build a safe, affordable apartment rental community in Immokalee for farmworkers and other low-income families.
After being introduced to the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance through Leadership Collier, Yvonne Bourk, a private wealth advisor with U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management of Naples, was inspired to support the nonprofit with a grant.
“I appreciate that Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance aims to address issues related to housing discrimination, tenant rights and fair housing policies,” said Bourk. “The meaning of the word ‘Immokalee’ means ‘Our Home’ so I knew I wanted to be a part of creating safe homes for children, families and workers. As I learned that essential workers, farmworkers and low-income families in Immokalee are living in dilapidated trailers and shacks with persistent mold and mildew, holes in the floor and walls, and often, with more than one family crowded into these hovels, I knew we had to get engaged.”
By supporting a grant to this project, U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management can have a direct impact on challenging systemic inequalities and improving the lives of vulnerable individuals and hard-working families. The Immokalee Fair Housing Project provides support and assistance to individuals struggling to secure safe and affordable housing.
“I encourage others to visit with the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance and be motivated by the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” added Bourk. “U.S. Bank Private Wealth is honored to help overcome these challenges faced by marginalized communities and hopes to lead the way for other organizations to advocate for fair housing in our community and contribute to creating a more equitable society.”
Many farmworkers and other low-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. Some families are paying 70% or more of their income on rent, leaving little for food, medical services, childcare and other services most would consider necessities.
“We are extremely grateful to US Bank for this generous grant that will be used by the Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance to support our operations and mission,” said Arol Buntzman, chairman, Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance. “As we near the completion of the first building, we rely on partners like U.S. Bank to pave the way to a vibrant, new community that will replace substandard and overcrowded housing, giving hope and stability to so many Immokalee families.”
The Alliance is currently building a housing complex of 128 rental units and a community center on 10 acres of property on Lake Trafford Road in Immokalee. As a federally designated 501(c)(3), IFHA has no profit motive and will pay limited real estate taxes. The community will be self-supporting with rents no more than 30% of a family’s income.
The first of eight rental buildings planned for the project is scheduled to be completed by end of 2023.