DESOTO COUNTY, Fla - In Arcadia, dozens of new homes are set to go up. The new community will be able to trace its roots to Hurricane Charley and a Catholic priest Saint John Bosco, who is known for the serving the poor.
It doesn't look like much now, but 29-acres of land represents seven years of hard work by the Diocese of Venice, through Catholic Charities, to bring low-income housing to farm workers in Arcadia. Now their dream is finally becoming a reality.
53 new single family homes and a 1,600 square foot community room with a computer lab will be built here. The new housing complex is named Casa San Juan Bosco.
"Farm workers are often given very substandard housing and this will give them an opportunity to live in something that is much more secure and safe," said Diocese of Venice Director of Communication Billy Atwell.
The concept for the project was born out of Hurricane Charley.
"It had, you know, really devastating affects in Desoto County, and it really highlighted the need for housing for farm workers and the poor in Desoto County," said Atwell.
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation and the United States Department of Agriculture are providing the money.
Neighbors along this quiet road say they hope the changes to their community won't be too drastic.
"I don't know if it will be better or not, but as long as they keep it under control, keep all the traffic and everything under control, it should work out good," said Audrey Gainous, who lives down the street from the project.
Groundbreaking for the new homes should start in a couple of weeks. The entire construction project will take about a year.
This isn't the only housing program started by the Diocese of Venice and Catholic Charities Housing. They also have units providing homes to single mothers, and to people living with HIV and AIDS.