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Upbeat news for Community Housing

By Staff | Apr 15, 2015

Zonta members, CHR residents and volunteers and Blades Tree Service personnel after the mulch project at Casa Mariposa. PHOTO PROVIDED

April is Fair Housing Month. Which is old news in Sanibel.

The island’s Community Housing and Resources agency since the 1970s has provided an affordable home to working islanders, other qualified renters and owners, some disabled and many seniors. The program has undergone changes in the last couple of years, upgrading and remodeling some of the housing, reporting zero vacancy. It has also partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University in a needs assessment study. The findings are expected shortly.

Some 120 residents are enrolled in the CHR program, with 22 on a waiting list. The agency manages 74 units in 25 buildings in Sanibel, boasts a lengthy list of volunteers and supporters. Most importantly, it offers housing to moderate income islanders, many of whom couldn’t afford to live in the island without assistance. The agency’s $1 million budget is mostly from rent and fees, but receives subsidies from the city and in fundraisers. The agency’s annual Mardi Gras this season was a hit with islanders, with proceeds of nearly $25,000, for instance.

The CHR program has had ups and downs, but has recovered its momentum and is succeeding, Executive Director Kelly Collini said. She’ll report that message at the group’s April 18 annual membership meeting. The business portion of the meeting will be followed by a community potluck luncheon.

“There’s been a lot of activity on our end,” Collini said. “It’s an exciting time to be involved (in Community Housing.) There’s a lot going on.”

April is Fair Housing Month, marking the anniversary of the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Fair Housing is intended to create equal housing opportunities for people living in the U.S. by administering laws that prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status.

CHR will hold its annual membership meeting on Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Center 4 Life building, 2401 Library Way. The public is invited to attend this event. RSVP to CHR by calling 239-472-1189.