Charley Richards, a local affordable housing advocate who partners with the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County to provide housing for adults with disabilities, was recently honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a Lightning Community Hero.
He received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation to invest in his non-profit organization Community Affordable Supported Living.
Founded in 1997, CASL provides affordable housing for adults who have disabilities throughout the Tampa Bay region. Through federal and state grants dispersed by the Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development, Richards has purchased, renovated and managed 23 homes in Sarasota.
In total, there are more than 40 CASL homes in the Tampa Bay region now serving 100 developmentally disabled persons.
Typically, the homes are located in neighborhoods near jobs and public transportation with monthly rent set at the affordable rate of $250-300.
CASL also provides clients with a case manager who assists them with developing life skills including handling a budget and job training.
After Richards lost his wife and developmentally challenged son in a car crash, he dedicated his life to providing opportunities for disabled persons which his son was never able to enjoy.
Richards is a former Sarasota County Commissioner.