FORT MYERS, FLa. — Local leaders decided Tuesday to direct more money to help people in the community find a home.
The Lee County Board of Commissioners voted to provide an additional $2,000 to the rapid rehousing program. That initiative helps house people who are homeless, with a specific focus on those displaced by the construction at Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. County leaders say the extra money comes from Cares Act funding.
Assistant County Manager Mark Mora says the city is very concerned about the number of people seeking housing.
"We saw an increase in the number of people seeking services with the county. Particularly for housing during the pandemic, and that number has stayed steady throughout the pandemic," he said. So, to address that issue, our commissioners today approved shifting some monies around that will help additional people."
If you need housing assistance and you live in Lee County, contact Lee County Human & Veterans Services using this link. The funds are expected to help about thirty households.
But homelessness and hunger in Southwest Florida continue to impact the Southwest Florida community. The non-profit Saint Matthews house works to feed families in need. Ray Steadman, a representative from the organization, says the need's so great right now that they're running out of food to give.
"We've seen that number increase even here in Collier County. Probably on any given night, you can roughly see up to a thousand individuals that are literally homeless in Collier County," he said. "This may not be like one of your major cities where you see it on the national news like a Los Angeles or somewhere. Not that magnitude, but certainly, we have our homeless population here in SWFL. Just like you can see in Lee County and also down here in Collier County."
The Saint Matthews House will be collecting food for their pantries at Winn Dixie on Golden Gate Parkway in Naples this Saturday, September 25th, from 9:00AM-6:00.
We'll keep you updated on how the county moves forward with helping those in need.