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Homeless must stop sleeping in parks by Friday

Homeless must stop sleeping in parks by Friday
Posted at 8:34 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 22:56:06-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Lions Park campsite and others across Fort Myers will soon be gone.

After more than an hour of talking, tears, and testimony the city council made the call Monday night.

"I don't do drugs. I'm 56 years old. I have kids and grandkids. I never thought I'd be here," said Dawn Cullen a woman struggling with homelessness.

But how will those still living there be helped?

Monday, FOX 4 learned that there are thousands of dollars available to nonprofits. Some of it is city money, some of it is county money, and some of it sitting right now in a local fund waiting to be spent."

The President of the Governing Board for Lee County's Continuum of Care, Jennifer Nelson, says they've handed millions to nonprofits over the last five years.

"We've given out about 11 million dollars," she said.

But this year, she said they barely got any applications for that money.

"I wish we had more nonprofits that applied for the funding," she said.


That means thousands of dollars that could have helped the folks in Lions Park and elsewhere, were left on the table.

Nelson spoke at the council meeting to let people know the money is there and could hopefully be used for this:

"I think the key would definitely be sustainable housing, sustainable living, and not only helping people to get off the streets but also but once they're off the streets figure out why they were out there, to begin with," she said.

The city also made some money available Monday.

The council agreed to spend 22,000 to put up 20 people dealing with homelessness in hotels for two weeks.

"Nobody can do it alone, it's going to take a serious collaboration," said Nelson.

And then there's Lee County, which is currently looking into spending almost 2 million dollars to build a shelter, for those waiting on county housing.

The Lee County Commission will be discussing that proposed shelter at Tuesday morning's meeting.