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City of Fort Myers preparing to evict several homeless people from Lions Park

Posted at 8:45 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 20:45:42-04

FORT MYERS — It’s the last day people will be allowed to sleep in Lions Park in Fort Myers.

Police and other community organizations were at the site Thursday helping move some people to housing. The people they were able to move out were on a waiting list for housing.

The City has been working with those people, but for others who aren’t on the list, there aren't many options, but the City is making it clear, they can’t stay there.

We spoke with Marquita Goodman, who told us she’s been living in the park since December.

"See I have a mental illness. I have bi-polar depression and stuff like that, so I don’t pretty much get along with too many people," said Goodman.

Goodman is hoping she can get her own hotel room or apartment, just like everyone else we spoke with.

"I think pretty much everybody who is offered a hotel or housing is going to go," said Kevin Chancey, who has been in the park since January.

We asked Chancey if he would be willing to go to the shelter if he doesn’t get a hotel room.

"I won’t go to Triage, just because I’ve heard about how miserable the place is. They said it’s worse than being in jail," said Chancey.

"Sweetheart, I’d rather go to my momma’s house than go to triage, okay? I’d rather go to my auntie’s house than go to triage," said Goodman.

Right around 2:00 in the afternoon, community organizations pulled in to help get some of the individuals to a hotel room, including Chancey, who packed up his stuff and boarded the bus.

But Officer Kristin Capuzzi tells us, not all of the people are on the list.

"People are starting to come to the park within the last 24 hours that we have not been in contact with, so it’s just a slow process. Those people still have to go through the long process that the previous people that are being housed have to go through," said Capuzzi.

For people like Goodman, who are still waiting on that long process, they’re making other plans.

"If we’re not housed or whatever stuff like that, we, you see all these abandoned buildings and stuff like that over there? You can put up a tent anywhere," said Goodman.

Just a few months ago, the City of Fort Myers evicted homeless individuals from Centennial Park. That’s where Goodman was before coming to Lions Park, and the concern is people like her may just end up living in another space they can find downtown.