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CHR makes informational presentation at San-Cap Rotary Club

By Staff | May 13, 2009

Our Friday morning Rotary Club meeting attendance is just dwindling down now that most of our snowbirds have headed up north. Therefore, we are ever grateful when our speaker brings along their entourage to fill up the spaces around the table.

Scott Marcelais, Executive Director of the Community Housing and Resources (CHR) of Sanibel, brought along CHR President Michael Cuscaden and Wayne and Sharon Corbett, PowerPoint experts, to oversee the visual presentation of CHR’s working solutions to find affordable housing on Sanibel.

Sanibel was a front-runner in tackling the task of providing a low-income housing program in the early 1970s. The need for affordable housing has been an ongoing problem for city employees, Sanibel business employees and our island senior citizens. The need was there, the city and our Sanibel businesses needed to find affordable housing on Sanibel for their employees and some of our Island seniors needed an alternate to leaving the Islands when they found their financial resources were not matching up to living costs.

CHR now has 79 units of affordable housing on 13 sites here on Sanibel. The locations are randomly dispersed throughout our Island. Beach Road, Sanibel Highlands, Airport Way, Wooster Lane, Mahogany Way, Belding Drive, Casa Mariposa (seniors), Wood Haven, Riverview, Center Street and privately owned units at Rabbit Road, Clam Bayou and Lakeview. All these units do not stand out and are well integrated into the visual makeup of their individual neighborhoods. The largest of these units are Mahogany Way with 14 units and Casa Mariposa with 12 units. Mahogany Way and Casa Maraposa are and will be the only units that use the same design plans.

Going forward, each affordable housing site or campus will probably have their own unique look. CHR also will be using precision built units (pre-fab) in the future on some projects. This type of construction has matured and all code requirements will be met.

Another direction for CHR is their desire to be part of the important movement of GREEN construction and a certification from the LEEDS organization “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.” Until recently, there was only one way to secure affordable housing on Sanibel and that was to rent. CHR now has three options: Rent, Lease Purchase and Purchase. Direct contact with CHR will outline the specifics of these options.

CHR is still faced with the fact that the number of affordable housing units on Sanibel does not meet the demand. Land is the issue. Density regulations and affordability are the problem. Therefore, CHR explored the idea of providing affordable housing just off-Island. The opportunity of working with the Shell Point Retirement Community, who was having their own problems with workforce turnover rate because of available affordable housing, is an interesting solution to both our problems. This type of solution for our affordable housing needs have led to the formation of a subsidiary to CHR called Coast and Islands Community Land Trust. This subsidiary will work on affordable housing off-island and other innovative future possibilities.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets 7 a.m. every Friday at the Beachview Restaurant, located on Par View Drive in Sanibel. For information regarding attending one of our Friday meetings, call Shirley Jewell at 337-1099.