Casa San Juan Bosco

Catholic Charities builds farm worker housing community


Arcadia—Catholic Charities Housing, Inc. is building 53 single-family homes for farm workers in DeSoto County. The $10 million project is called Casa San Juan Bosco, named after St. John Bosco known for his legacy of service to the underprivileged.


“This project has been seven years in the making,” said Peter Routsis-Arroyo, CEO of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. “Because so many people and organizations did not lose faith, it finally became a reality. I thank the board members, donors, volunteers, parishes, grower’s associations, community partners, and Bishop Frank Dewane for all their support.”


Construction began in October and will take about 12 months to complete. The family-friendly neighborhood is being built on a 29-acre lot in DeSoto County and will feature 16 four bedroom/two bath units and 37 three bedroom/two bath units, along with a 1,600 square-foot community center with a computer lab and offices for on-site personnel.


“Agribusiness is the largest industry in our state, other than tourism, and this housing project will allow hard working farm worker families to remain together and live in safe, clean, affordable housing and preserve their human dignity,” Routsis-Arroyo said.


National Development of America LLC is the project developer and the homes will be built by Brooks & Freund LLC. NDC Real Estate Management will manage the property.


Funding for the housing project is through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Forty-four of the homes will be eligible for rental assistance through the USDA.


Casa San Juan Bosco is an answer to a lack of affordable housing in DeSoto County.  After Hurricane Charley destroyed a large portion of low-income homes in 2004, Catholic Charities Housing set forth to provide decent homes for farm workers and their families.


“There was a need for quality, affordable housing prior to Hurricane Charley, but out of the devastation, this project was born,” Routsis-Arroyo said. This is not just a housing complex, but a community.”


For more information, please contact Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice at 941-488-5581.


Photo: Construction of the Casa San Juan Bosco housing community began in October 2011will be completed in 12 months.