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Longwood’s Kimberly Fogle has invested her heart and her retirement fund to help the homeless

Kimberly Fogle spent about three decades in the insurance industry. When it came time for a change, she says she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.

“I realized that I don’t need a bigger house or a bigger car,” she says, and the money in her 401(k) was just sitting there.

So, with support from her husband Mike and son Matt, she embarked on a new adventure – building and financing an affordable housing community in Sanford.

Giving back is nothing new to the Fogle family. For decades, they’ve actively helped many local charities that assist the area homeless community. And while those organizations often offered support by way of washing clothes or feeding impoverished families, Kimberly couldn’t help but wonder, “Where do these families lay their heads at night?” Many nonprofit leaders agree the greatest need for these families is housing. Plenty of our neighbors have the determination to work hard and rebuild, but nowhere to actually sleep.

One night while expressing her frustration, Kimberly’s son reminded her of a mantra she had taught him: “You have no right to complain unless you’re willing to be part of the solution.” While Kimberly admits she knew nothing about construction – she jokes that she’s never even built a doghouse – she came up with a plan. She would literally build the homes struggling families needed.

If You Build It…

Kimberly purchased a plot of land in downtown Sanford, in walking distance to stores, parks, and businesses, and near the bus line, and started building an affordable apartment complex.

“We wanted to help in a bigger way,” Kimberly says, explaining how her nonprofit organization, Central Florida Home for Good, was born out of frustration and faith.

Kimberly held fast to her commitment, beginning construction during the especially unlucky ides of March 2020. The project slogged through the COVID shutdown and suffered delays in construction due to crews becoming sick and the skyrocketing costs of materials. With no investors or developers to back her mission, Kimberly personally negotiated with subcontractors for reduced rates, acquired deals on appliances and flooring, and secured in-kind donations from local businesses.

The result is Sanford Courtyard, a complex of 10 two-bedroom/ one-bath apartment units plus on-site laundry facilities and manicured landscaping. Each apartment boasts high-end fixtures like stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops, and every home is rented for about $500 less than the market rate.

“Everyone deserves to live in a place that makes them feel good and worthy,” says Kimberly, who partners with local nonprofit organizations like SafeHouse of Seminole, The Sharing Center, Angels of Mercy, and the local VA to help secure housing for neighbors in need.

The first families moved into Sanford Courtyard in April 2022, among them a father and son who once lived in their car. Recently, the father proudly told Kimberly he’s now saving for his son’s college education, an option that wasn’t possible just months before. He was too focused on surviving day-to-day to dream about the future, but now he can.

“People are thriving,” says Kimberly. “I feel like I just provided the template, and it’s so fulfilling to be able to be a part of it.”

One Good Deed Deserves Another

In mid-February, Kimberly closed on a vacant lot next door to Sanford Courtyard. By focusing on small lots that are of little interest to developers, she plans to repeat the process, constructing another 10 apartment units. While many entrepreneurs seek funding during the planning stage, Kimberly chose to buck the trend. She considers her first project proof of concept and now is in the process of securing grants for the second phase.

“I wanted to build something first and have proof that I could do it,” she explains. “It is worth every bit of frustration and every penny. You’d be surprised by giving to others what you get in return.” 

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