Owners of houses most urgently in need of repair will have a chance to save their homes under a partnership between the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties.
The program will help preserve homes that have been cited for repeated code violations and potential safety hazards. Owners must live in the homes, meet income requirements and pass a background check. The first phase of the program will target houses in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd. redevelopment areas.
“The program will first be piloted in areas of the MLK redevelopment area and sub-areas with the highest instances of code occurrences. CRA staff will provide Habitat for Humanity with list of addresses that fall within these various sections of neighborhoods that are most hindered by outstanding code violations in effort to market the program in the most distressed areas of our community first,” as reported by Fort Myers CRA Assistant Director, Antoine Williams.
Though Habitat for Humanity is perhaps best known for building new homes to sell to qualified low-income families using an affordable Habitat mortgage, Chief Operating Officer Tanya Soholt said that Habitat also assists families through their home preservation, home repair and home retention programs. Soholt said Habitat has had great success with programs like the one it is partnering on with the CRA.
Part of the CRA’s overall housing plan, the Home Preservation Program will help homeowners repair or replace roofs, secure exterior electrical services, make landscape and irrigation improvements, repair gutters and remove of junk vehicles and yard debris.
The CRA will identify a list of eligible homes and provide funding, and Habitat for Humanity will work with homeowners to apply for the program, assure requirements are met and determine what repairs are needed. Habitat will do the repair work using staff, local subcontractors and volunteers.
To qualify for the program, homeowners must be low income (below 80 percent of the area median income), have no tax liens against their property, be current with their mortgages and live in their homes. All adult members of the household must pass criminal background checks.
For projects costing more than $5,000, homeowners will have to sign off on a lien on their property that would be forgiven after five years. If the homeowner sells the house or refinances before five years, the repair costs would have to be repaid.
Eligible homeowners will qualify for up to $25,000 worth of repairs. The CRA has budgeted $250,000 for this phase of the program, which was approved by the City Council in February.
To request an application, please call (239) 652-1665 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to view the Quick Guide.
Submission of an eligible application does not ensure you will be awarded funding. Funding is limited and is awarded based on greatest need.
Background check fee of $50 for all selected projects.