Written by Melissa Rice
Community Housing and Resources (CHR) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization established in 1979 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to ensure there would be a home for everyone on Sanibel. CHR provides affordable housing to individuals and families who work and who serve the community of Sanibel.
Today CHR has 88 units in our affordable housing portfolio. We have two programs – a rental program and an ownership program known as the Limited Equity Ownership Program (LEO). In our LEO program we currently have 14 homes that are all owner occupied; we have 74 units in our rental program. Both programs follow two principal guidelines for eligibility: you must work full-time on Sanibel and you must meet the income limits as set forth by HUD for the Area Median Income of the Fort Myers area. To determine if an applicant meets these criteria, their employment, income and assets are verified. Then based on their verified income their rent is determined at 30% of their income. CHR offers only one year leases and each year the resident’s information must be re-verified to retain eligibility in the CHR program.
At CHR we take care of our own -– working families, young professionals, public workers, and others who contribute so much to the fabric of our lives here in Sanibel. It is key to the health and vitality of our island community.
Our first Mayor, Porter Goss, recalls, “Our founders wanted Sanibel to be a place for everyone, blue collar, white collar, and everyone in between.” Housing is the foundation of a community: it supports our local economy; it enables the delivery of quality care and services; it is where individuals find stability and families grow.
The need for housing exceeds our available housing units and continues to escalate. Currently, there are over 25 people on the waiting list. It is heartbreaking for us when we have to turn away qualified applicants who have an immediate housing need because we simply are at capacity.
As we approach CHR’s fortieth anniversary, we reflect with gratitude on the generosity you have shown us in the past. Now, more than ever, your support is critical as the need is greater than ever.