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Local non-profit desperately searching for group home for vulnerable citizens

Five people were living in the home and were forced to evacuate when Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida’s coast.
LARC Group Home.jpg
Posted at 5:17 PM, Apr 05, 2023

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Some of southwest Florida’s most vulnerable residents are in dire need of help.
And the clock is ticking.

“We really need a miracle,” said Angela Katz, Executive Dir. Of the Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) a non-profit dedicated to helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Since the ‘90s LARC has housed several adults with special needs at a group home in North Fort Myers. That riverfront home was donated to the non-profit.

Five people were living in the home and were forced to evacuate when Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida’s coast. While the home is still standing, it’s unlivable.

“All of their favorite trinkets or mementos or photos, everything was in that home,” said Katz. “It’s heartbreaking.”

LARC Group Home Inside.jpg
The LARC group home was destroyed by Hurricane Ian.

Rebuilding isn’t an option because, any new home built on the property would have to be built 13 feet higher, due to code, which isn’t suitable for the residents.

Two of the adults moved in with family members. The other three are in LARC’s second group home, but that’s only under emergency orders from the state.

“That’s temporary. Once the emergency orders go away we will have to move them,” Katz said.

The non-profit is building a permanent home in Cape Coral, but construction isn’t expected to be finished for a year. Finding a rental home Katz says, has been impossible.

Local non-profit desperately searching for group home for vulnerable citizens

“Because we are a business and we care for residents, (management companies) won’t rent to us because it’s an increased liability,” Katz said.

Katz says the non-profit is hoping for a private donation, specifically in the Lehigh Acres area because of local zoning rules.

LARC is located at 2570 Hanson Street in Fort Myers. To reach them email info@larcleecounty.org

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