Published: Apr 03, 2012 10:42 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 04, 2012 12:02 AM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Seniors on a tight budget now have another housing option in Charlotte County.

Tuesday, developers and community leaders celebrated the grand opening of Charlotte Crossing, an affordable housing community in Punta Gorda.

Bob Hebert, the county's Housing and Community Initiatives Manager, says the private development is a needed asset in the community, which lost much of its housing in Hurricane Charley.

The project has been in works for several years and cost $12 million to build. It was funded with money from private investors, grants, and tax credits.

"There's been financial issues because of state cutbacks, there's been changes due to environmental issues: scrubjays and wetlands and so forth," Hebert says.

According to Hebert, it doesn't fit in with most people's idea of affordable housing.

"Low- to moderate-income housing for retired folks ends up being pretty rundown, not taken care of," Hebert says. "The way they build them is not very elaborate."

Pat Shirley, a resident, says her new apartment has brought her comfort in more ways than one. Last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and put on disability.

"All of a sudden you go, well what do I do now?" Shirley says.

Shirley says the community has been more than she expected.

"It gave me a good safe home. Somewhere I can rely on, so I didn't have to worry about as I faced cancer, would I end up homeless, what was going to happen to me," Shirley says.

For more information on Charlotte Crossing, call (941) 347-4040.