The biggest need that was an issue even before Hurricane Ian is HOUSING. For the majority of non-profits on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, their staffs are now without a home of their own due to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian. We put a call out to our “Ding” family asking for help, and a big thanks go to those who have opened their doors to our displaced staff, sent us contacts for possible housing or worked with us to charge affordable rates.
Staff from “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), Bailey Matthew’s National Shell Museum, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Sanibel Community House, FISH, Sanibel School, CHR, Sanibel Library, and so many more are without homes and struggling to find affordable housing. There are also police and fire staff looking for housing in addition to island business owners and their employees.
These individuals, many with families, are the backbone of our islands and help make Sanibel and Captiva that “special” and “happy” place for all of us. They are professional, hard working and caring adults who will be working to rebuild our islands. While we all want to get back to our “happy place” as soon as possible, it will take so much longer if these individuals and families are unable to find affordable housing. Prices for rent still being charged are the traditional pre-hurricane seasonal rates and this is impossible for our employees to afford.
The rebuilding of our islands will be a long and arduous journey for all of us, but without employees such as our non-profit staff and employees and owners of businesses, this recovery will take that much longer.
Thank you to Janet L., MaryBeth G, Don G., Jim G, Robin T, Jim K , Susie H. and others who have helped or reached out with our housing crisis. But we need more people like them to help the DDWS and all the other nonprofit staffs, business owners and their employees find affordable housing.
Do you own a home or condo in Lee or Collier County (Fort Myers, Cape Coral, North Ft. Myers, Lehigh Acres, Estero, Bonita Springs, Naples etc.) and be willing to stay up north this winter to donate the use of it or charge just your expenses to help these people live for the next 6 months at a minimum? We realize why people want to come to Florida in the winter and specifically Sanibel and Captiva, but this will take so much longer if people helping to rebuild the islands can’t find affordable housing for at least 6 months to a year.
We understand there is already something underway to collect information from people as to what they may have available, size of their facility, if they accept families, pets, and other rules of their homes, but until then, if you have something available and are willing to let these non-profit employees and so many more pay an affordable rent, please send an EMAIL to DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller and someone will get in touch with you to get the details. While you may not be doing the heavy lifting of rebuilding the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, opening your home or condo that was not damaged by the hurricane would be a HUGE help to the rebuilding process. Thank you for your consideration of support and thank you to those already helping in this area. Again, please contact Birgie if you are willing to help. Please put HOUSING in the email title.
Photo by Libby Erickson. Help us find a nesting place for our non-profit staffs and their families..