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New Lee County program focuses on housing homeless families

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 20:18:35-04

FORT MYERS — Lee County is designating $1.9 million to help homeless people find housing.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and it’s specifically targeted to help families. The County said it expects this new funding will help get more than 90 families off the streets and into a place they can call home.

Lee County has been trying to find a solution to the growing homeless camps for months now, and on Tuesday, Assistant County Manager Marc Mora said Commissioners took a big step forward.

"Our commissioners recognize that there is an issue, and have allocated the funds," said Mora.

Those funds will help committed couples or parents with children into hotels, and eventually, into permanent homes.

"Our Commissioners gave us the direction that a priority should be housing families. They’re the most vulnerable, so that’s what we went about doing," said Mora.

But one woman spoke out Tuesday to oppose the plan.

"Did I just hear him say it’s for couples only?” said Jasmine Miller, who said she's been living on the street in Fort Myers.

Miller said she has been waiting on the list to be placed in affordable housing.

"It’s just going to be given to families, and that’s very disturbing to me. There are a lot of single women here on the streets in Fort Myers, and these women are suffering," said Miller.

Miller said, being homeless, she worries about her own safety.

"As recently as Friday, I was attacked by someone. I had to really fight him off," said Miller.

But Mora tells us, there are options for people like Miller. The Traige shelter is available, and a new facility is getting ready to open called Cypress Village. It will have more than 90 apartments to house homeless individuals.

"Their planned opening is mid-June late-June, and we’re really excited because that will help us place a lot of those people looking for housing," said Mora.

The County said two different non-profits, the Salvation Army and Centerstone Behavioral Health will be working to implement the new program, called the Family Transition Collaborative. The families in the program were already seeking help through the County’s Continuum of Care.

If you would like to find those resources, you can click here.