Building homes for people who are the backbone of the community is what Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson says the city plans to do for teachers and first responders.
The plan is in the early stages, but the idea is to break into the housing market and bring more affordable places to the area.
The pros of the plan are that it creates more inventory in the housing market and gives people a decent place to live. It’s a home that people could have where they could still afford to furnish it.
The downside is that there is a risk that comes along with buying any property. The same goes for building it, but in this case, a real estate expert says the reward might just be greater than the risk for the city.
It’s the American dream. A family, a white picket fence, and a house to call home, but now only two of those things are attainable.
“We keep seeing, and the common theme that I hear every day is people cannot find places to live, they can’t find rental properties, they can’t find affordable housing to buy,” said Joshua Rudnick, a real estate attorney.
You don’t need a law degree to know that buying a house is something fewer and fewer people can do.
“It’s a crisis that is impacting our entire community,” Rudnick said.
Mayor Anderson knows it too, and he wants to do something about it. “What we’re gonna look at is the city building a house and selling it for cost.”
Mayor Anderson said there are about half a dozen lots, possibly more, that are vacant in Fort Myers. With a little help from the city, that empty land could meet a major demand.
“And yet keep the cost down to where people in that workforce essential category, you know, our nurses, our police officers, our prosecutors, teachers, and people in that earnings category who earn too much to really get assistance, but they don’t learn enough to buy a decent house,” said Anderson.
What happens with the city getting into residential real estate? Rudnick says the pros outweigh the cons. “I think that there’s a huge benefit, a huge upside to this, and a huge need. So the risk can be mitigated.”
This concept is still in the very early stages, but the mayor said they could be looking at as many as 50 properties to create homes for folks who are the backbone of our community.