Residents express concern over lack of affordable housing in Punta Gorda

Annette Horner knows the struggle to find affordable housing in Punta Gorda all too well.

“When I was looking it took me (2.5) years to find a place and I was lucky that I fell into this when I did because I was homeless by then,” Horner said.

Horner lived in a shelter because she said she couldn’t find anything else on a fixed income.

“Rent is high,” Horner said. “Very expensive and plus you have pay utilities.”

Now she’s at the Verandas on Airport Road, an affordable senior living community. But, Horner isn’t alone.

“I feel for these people that can’t find a place,” Horner said.

The average cost of rent in Punta Gorda was $860, according to the 2016 U.S. Census. Making the search for affordable housing hard for seniors and families alike.

“It’s a long waiting list for everywhere,” said Punta Gorda resident Mary Garcia.

Now the Verandas are moving forward with expansion plans to build nearly 60 more units that will be open to families, but neighbors say they’re much needed.

“They need to build more places for people to live. You know, affordable places,” Garcia said.

While some drivers say more units means more traffic on Airport Road, people at the Verandas say the need for housing is far more important.