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'That is striking to us': Waitlist at St. Matthew's House in Collier County growing rapidly

St. Matthew's House
Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 22:32:46-04

NAPLES, Fla. — More people in Collier County are in desperate need of a place to sleep. St. Matthew's House has seen a spike in its waitlist over the past six months.

The waitlist has spiked to more than 100 people — men, women and families. This number typically sits around 40-50, with one in four coming in recently experiencing homelessness for the first time. CEO Steve Brooder says many people are struggling to pay rent.

"That is striking to us, so these symptoms of society right now with these inflationary pressures we think are driving people that have never been in this situation to now become homeless," Brooder said.

Just on Friday, a family of 12 came in looking for a place to stay.

About 29-percent of the people on the waitlist are over 50-years-old, up 19-percent from what the shelter normally sees.

Brooder says they're moving toward having 46 more beds at the Naples shelter. County commissioners approved the additional beds back in January.

While the shelter waits for permits, workers are reaching out to other local organizations to see if they can help people get into a stable home.

Even though the additional beds are expected this summer, Brooder says they're working to get them done as soon as possible to decrease the waitlist.