Immokalee CRA provides funding for the creation of housing for residents with disabilities

Naples – The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) has awarded a $30,000 grant to Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) for the development of Independence Place, a project which will provide housing that is affordable for adults with developmental disabilities who want to live independently in the Immokalee community.

Other funding for this project comes from Florida Housing Finance Corporation, which administers a grant program to produce housing for people with developmental disabilities in communities across Florida, and from Immokalee Housing and Family Services, a local nonprofit housing corporation with a 30 plus year history of serving the Immokalee community.

The grant from Immokalee CRA will be used for renovations that will make the home accessible for people with disabilities. The architectural plans for the home have been redesigned by MHK Architecture and Planning, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. The renovations include installation of new doors and frames, plumbing fixtures and grab bars, creation of a ramp at the home’s entry, and redesign of the bathrooms and the kitchen to allow individuals who use wheelchairs to more easily maneuver throughout the living spaces.

Independence Place is the first home of its kind in Immokalee specifically designed to help individuals with development disabilities live in the community with supports that help maximize their independence. “The CRA is proud to partner with ROOF to facilitate the development of Independence Place, Immokalee’s first home specifically designed for supported living for individuals with development disabilities,” said Debrah Forester, Community Redevelopment Agency Director.

ROOF’s Executive Director, Sheryl Soukup, commented on the choice of Immokalee as the site of its first supported living home, “We selected Immokalee because there is no other home like this in Immokalee – there truly is a need. We were encouraged by the immediate support that we received from community members. If there is any community in Florida that can set a shining example of how to support people with disabilities to live independently in the community, it’s Immokalee.”

ROOF’s vision is for every community in Florida to have an abundance of housing choices that meet the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. ROOF is currently working to create new housing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in Brevard, Collier, Charlotte, Orange, and Palm Beach counties.

The median gross rent in Florida is $972, but individuals with developmental disabilities can typically afford $225-$600 rent, making it very difficult and often impossible to find an affordable place to live. ROOF is creating housing that is affordable even to people with disabilities whose only source of income is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a monthly payment provided to individuals who cannot work due to the nature and severity of their disability.

Says Soukup, “We want to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from living independently in the community. Affordability and accessibility are two factors that can make the dream of living independently a reality for people with disabilities.”

About Residential Options of Florida (ROOF)
The mission of Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) is to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain affordable and inclusive housing of their choice. ROOF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation created in 2014 by a statewide group of stakeholders with support from Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and the U.S. Department of Human Services. You can join ROOF in promoting the creation of housing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities across Florida. To learn more, visit www.flroof.org.

About Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)
The Collier County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) was established in March of 2000 to alleviate slum and blight in two separate Redevelopment Areas within Collier County: The Bayshore Gateway Triangle Redevelopment area and the Immokalee Redevelopment Area. The improvement efforts in the Immokalee Redevelopment Area are led by the Immokalee CRA Advisory Board, which is comprised of community leaders, and governed by the Collier County Community Redevelopment Agency which is comprised of County Commissioners. To learn more, visit http://www.immokaleetoday.com/.

The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.

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