Homeless left with nowhere to go after library closed to them

Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 22:33:59-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — "On today April 13, 2020, we were asked to leave the Fort Myers regional library..."

That's just the beginning of a three page complain against the Fort Myers police department.

"We have no were to go, we were asked to go the woods," said a man who was kicked off the property.

It was filed by the man mentioned above, on behalf of the many people struggling with homelessness, who have called the courtyard around the downtown Fort Myers library courtyard, home.

Cell phone video shows FMPD officers at the scene earlier Monday.

A spokesperson for the department released the following statement:

The downtown library holds an active trespass letter on file with our department. We do understand and empathize with the homeless population in the City of Fort Myers. The City has arraigned for portable style restrooms in different locations throughout the city such as parks etc due to many businesses being closed temporarily. We still actively patrol to make sure there are no issues in the downtown corridor as normal.

"There's a pandemic going on. What are we supposed to do?" said the homeless man Fox 4 spoke to.

It's a question haunting those living on the streets, since shelters are full and public parks are closed.

"We occupied the Fort Myers library because we had no were else to go. We've been to every park and we've been kicked out of every park," said the man.

Fort Myers city councilman, Johnny Streets Jr., says this is an issue that the city could have solved years ago.

He says there are far too many vacant buildings in the city, for there to be people sleeping out on the streets.

"I think we have to improvise and use temporary places and get them cleaned up just enough to house people overnight, to get a decent meal, to get them showered and perhaps be tested," said Streets Jr.

In the meantime, the 20+ folks evicted from the library say they don't know where they'll sleep tonight.

"Lee county does not have a solution for homelessness. Their solution is 'Go to the woods.' What woods?" said the man Fox 4 spoke to.