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Public/Private Partnership Announce Innovative Workforce Housing Program
Public/Private Partnership Announce Innovative Workforce Housing Program
04/18/07   A group of Southwest Florida business leaders have announced an innovative teacher housing assistance program that is being championed as a model by educational leaders and statewide elected officials.

Bonita Bay Group and its chairman, David Lucas, have established a program with other community leaders called “Homes for Heroes” to provide $2 million in financial assistance that will help qualified essential services personnel – including Lee and Collier County public school teachers and college/university educators, nurses, police, firefighters, healthcare personnel, and skilled building trades -- to achieve the dream of home ownership. The community partners include Bonita Bay Group, Chico’s Charities, Oswald Trippe & Company, Inc., Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Gates-McVey Companies, Colonial Bank, Steve and Kathy Shimp, Alan Freeman, Barraco & Associates, Five County Insurance Agency, Inc., Johnson Engineering, Pavese Law Firm, Agnoli, Barber & Brundage, Inc., Passarella & Associates, and Brown & Brown Benefits.

Working with the Lee County Housing Development Corporation (LCHDC) 60 new condominiums in the Osprey Cove community located on Estero Parkway in South Lee County have been purchased. In addition to the financial support received from “Homes for Heroes,” the LCHDC will work to secure other available sources to further lower the mortgage cost for income-qualified buyers.

“I am inspired by the generosity and vision of the leadership of these outstanding community partners and appreciate their commitment to addressing the critical workforce housing crisis facing our region and state,” said Rep. Mike Davis, R-Naples. Davis sponsored the $637 million bill to promote affordable housing for essential public workers that was passed in the state legislature this year.

“Giving back to the community has always been one of our company’s core business values and supporting the critically important work being done by our public workers is our privilege,” said Lucas. “I have been pleased to see how quickly our community partners joined this effort to solve a critical issue facing our community.”

“I applaud the efforts of David Lucas and the other community leaders who have stepped forward to make “Homes for Heroes” a reality,” said Dr. James Browder, Lee County superintendent of schools. “This program will be enormously beneficial to the School District in attracting and retaining quality teachers.”

“Homes for Heroes” offers qualifying personnel financial assistance in the form of interest free loans of up to $50,000 from the regional business partnership grant to potentially $25,000 or more for a family who is eligible for additional state and federal grants. The loans will not be repaid until the home is resold and the loan is forgiven if the buyer remains an essential service worker for eight years..

According to the Lee County HDC, the program is open to full-time Lee and Collier County public school teachers and college/university educators, nurses, police, firefighters, healthcare personnel, and skilled building trades in Lee County’s public school system, colleges and universities with a maximum family annual income no greater than $125,000. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Debbie Laites at (239)390-1268 or DebbieL@bonitabaygroup.com" target="_blank">DebbieL@bonitabaygroup.com for additional information on qualifying criteria, deed restrictions and insurance requirements.

More information and application forms are at http://www.HomesForHeroesSWF.com" target="_blank">www.HomesForHeroesSWF.com or call 239-656-2851


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