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FORT MYERS | Housing Authority closer to demolishing Southward Village; residents ready to leave

Posted at 6:38 PM, Oct 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-11 20:09:48-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Walking through Southward Village near the Dunbar community, you'll see boarded up windows, possessions left on the curb, and vacant units.

But these are all signs of progress, as the Fort Myers Housing Authority is almost done moving all residents out of the neighborhood as part of the Greater Dunbar Initiative.

While everyone must be out before demolition crews can go in, Fox 4's Briana Brownlee met one woman who is still waiting to leave.

"'Ms. Brown, you're supposed to been moved.' Then why you ain't tell me? Why you ain't doing anything?"

Bobie Brown has been a resident of Southward Village for the past decade and says she's ready to leave.

“It bothers me when they ask me 'You aint moved yet…?' No," she said.

Brown said there are plenty of reasons why she wants to move, including noise in the area and the fear for her safety that keeps her up at night. She stays inside most days and doesn't answer the door for anyone.

“If you're not family you're not going to get me to open this door," she said. "I heard you; I thought about not opening the door.”

But she did... and during her conversation with Fox 4 she said she loves the people who work in the office at Southward Village, but it often takes a while for repairs in her unit to be fixed.

“They call themselves saying... 'I’ll be back Bobbie, I’ll be back.' I aint seen him yet.”

On top of those issues, she says the main reason she wants to leave is that with everyone else gone... she's lonely.

"I aint got no one to talk to," Brown said. "When you leave, I aint got nobody else.”

Brown said once she moves into her new place, she can't wait to just relax and watch TV.

The Housing Authority says all Southward Village residents should be moved out by December, and that will start the demolition process; the first step in the Greater Dunbar Initiative.

The executive director of the Housing Authority said new units are coming and should be ready for move-ins by then.