Housing Authority a finalist for $30 million HUD grant

The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers (HACFM) is proposing a transformation plan for the greater Dunbar community and has been named one of five finalists for a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Land Development’s (HUD).

HACFM has partnered with community leaders, residents and local stakeholders to create The Greater Dunbar Initiative, a comprehensive transformation plan for the large-scale revitalization of the 37-acre, 199-unit Southward Village into a mixed-income community, which replaces existing affordable housing units for residents while expanding choices, creating market-rate amenities, and adding new mixed-income housing to create a resilient and healthy neighborhood moving forward. The proposed development strategies work to tie together market preferences, resident needs and community reinvestment by transforming the community into an equitable, desirable and proud neighborhood that meets the needs of all residents.

To help fund the $362 million initiative, HACFM and the City of Fort Myers are in the running to receive a $30 million grant from HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant program. The Greater Dunbar Initiative was selected out of 20 project applicants to be among the top five finalists. HUD will conduct a virtual site visit with finalists in the coming weeks and the grant will be awarded soon after.

“We are thrilled to be among the finalists being considered for this influential grant,” said Marcia Davis, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers. “The greater Dunbar community is rich in history, surrounds key growth corridors for Fort Myers and acts as a gateway into downtown Fort Myers, providing new opportunity for Dunbar residents and this region as a whole.”

The Greater Dunbar Initiative is the culmination of a strategic reinvestment plan implemented by the HACFM as part of a community vision process, building public and private partnerships to replace the outdated public housing over time with sustainable, modern housing integrated into the broader neighborhood patterns. The goal is to replace housing for existing residents and attract new residents in a way that helps create a catalyst for reinvestment and improvements within the larger Dunbar neighborhood.

The transformed site will include 375 new mixed-income apartments, supported with new infrastructure and complemented with amenities, including a clubhouse, a fitness room, a business center, pocket parks, playgrounds and on-site management offices.

In addition to improved housing, The Greater Dunbar Initiative will increase access to services like education, employment and health care. The plan also includes construction of a new grocery store, revitalization of the Farmer’s Market and added retail, dining and entertainment to increase the economic opportunity through healthy lifestyles. Lastly, the transformation will enhance connectivity and visibility through targeted investments along Edison Avenue, Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

To learn more about The Greater Dunbar Initiative, visit www.HACFM.org or call 239-344-3220.

About the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers

The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers serves as a catalyst for increasing access to safe, stable and sustainable housing and to help develop, preserve and revitalize communities through affordable rental housing. For more information, visit www.HACFM.org or call 239-344-3220.