The faithful of Blessed Pope John XXIII Parish came out in force to celebrate the construction of an apartment facility which will serve low-income elderly of all faiths.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 19.
Father Robert Tabbert, Pastor of Blessed John XXIII Parish Pastor parishioners, local officials and construction managers looked on in appreciation. The project, called Blessed Pope John XXIII Villas, was made possible through a $9.7 million grant from Housing and Urban Development. It is part of a continuing initiative by the Diocese of Venice to provide affordable housing for low-income elderly.
â€śThis is an important project for the Diocese of Venice as we continue our commitment to serve the elderly,â€ť Bishop Dewane said. â€śMany elderly are in need of quality affordable housing but are unable to afford it. The Diocese appreciates the opportunity to partner with HUD to provide these apartments for elderly in need, a part of the community which is often overlooked.â€ť
Father Tabbert said he was thrilled when he first learned of the HUD grant and feels blessed to be able to help an underserved portion of the Fort Myers population. â€śEveryone is very excited about the opportunities the parish will have as we provide outreach for the residents. I for one can not wait until this is open.â€ť
The Blessed Pope John XXIII Villas design features 68 one-bedroom units. The building will include a community room for social activities and a common laundry area. It will be in close proximity to medical services, shopping and banking. Residents will receive a wide variety of supportive services from a network of providers located in the community. The project is intended to allow the residents to live as independently as possible while having access to a wide variety of supportive services. Construction is expected to take about a year.
People who are 62 or older and whose incomes are no more than 50 percent of the areaâ€™s median income can apply to live in the apartments and receive rent subsidies. Qualified residents will pay no more than 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent, and HUD will subsidize the remaining cost.
HUD awarded $550 million to 169 low-income housing projects in 46 states during the latest round of grants announced July 12, 2010. The Blessed Pope Jon XXIII Villas was one of only two such projects in Florida.
This new project will be the ninth low-income elderly housing project sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Venice under the HUD 202 program. The other sites are in Sarasota, Palmetto, Bradenton, Venice and Fort Myers. This latest apartment facility will assist in meeting the high demand for quality affordable housing for the elderly.