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First Twilight Talk of the season stars CHR

By Staff | Jan 29, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Community Housing and Resources was the subject of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village's first Twilight Talk of the season, held on Jan. 15 at The Community House.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village chose Community Housing and Resources as the subject of its opening Twilight Talk this season, given on Jan. 15 at The Community House on Sanibel.

A capacity crowd packed the auditorium to enjoy a walk through history on the screen and then personal reminiscences – past, present and future – from three prominent citizens intimately involved in CHR’s evolution as a vital community resource. CHR is celebrating its 40th anniversary of service to Sanibel as the provider of affordable housing for island workers, senior citizens and the disabled.

Museum Executive Director Emilie Alfino in her welcome described the joy of working toward – and achieving – her goal of home ownership through CHR’s limited equity ownership program.

“Quite simply, CHR changed my life,” she said.

After a short video featuring CHR residents with their own life-changing stories, former Mayor Porter Goss reminisced about the incorporation of Sanibel in 1974. Many in the audience may have been hearing the stories for the first time – including that in 1974, the will to create affordable housing was a condition of state approval for incorporation. It led to the beginnings of CHR.

PHOTO PROVIDED Panel speakers Sanibel City Councilmember Richard Johnson, CHR liaison and former CHR board president, former Mayor Porter Goss and Mayor Kevin Ruane.

Mayor Kevin Ruane followed with his own experiences over the past decade, including guiding CHR’s development and financial growth through the ups and downs to become the envy of municipalities in Florida. In order to successfully meet state requirements, CHR still needs to add at least 33 dwellings to its inventory of 74 rental units and 14 limited equity homes, he said. Finding suitable land is just one of the obstacles to meeting the goal.

City Councilmember Richard Johnson, CHR liaison as well as former president of the CHR board, focused on the future, stressing the demonstrated need for additional housing. He also noted the contributions of former board members, including Ray Pavelka, now deceased, and Armand Ball, a resident of Cypress Cove.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

Questions for the panel from the audience were coordinated by CHR Executive Director Melissa Rice, who served as board treasurer for five years before assuming her current role.

For more information about CHR, visit sanibelchr.org.

PHOTO PROVIDED The panel of speakers share their insights on and experiences with CHR.