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Homeless during Tropical Storm Eta

Posted at 10:06 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 22:47:57-05

LEE COUNTY, FLA — As Tropical Storm Eta's winds and rains came down Monday, some who struggle with homelessness braved the storm from outside at local parks.

Lee county's human services department provided rides to a salvation army shelter and some took them up on the offer.

But many tell FOX 4 they didn't go because of the rules, because they couldn't make it to one of the few pick-up sites, or because they've been kicked out of the shelter.

They're people like one man who calls himself "Rambo."

"I'm trespassed form everywhere I go," he said.

I reached out to Lee county last week to see if anything can be done.

They say they know about the gaps in the safety net, but also claim they're making progress one person at a time.

In a statement to FOX 4, they tell us they've put more than 170 people into either the rapid rehousing program or into an emergency shelter.

Here is a status update on the Rapid Rehousing program:

Since Oct. 1, 2020:

  • 28 households have been added to Rapid Rehousing program (54 individuals made up of 34 adults and 20 children).
  • During that same time period, 121 households have entered into a Continuum of Care emergency shelter (122 individuals made up of 121 adults and one child).


Also, as [Asst. Lee County Manager] Marc [Mora] told you in your prior interview, the county has added Rapid Rehousing providers. On the list below, numbers 4, 5 & 6 are the ones he mentioned that are boosting capacity.

1. Human & Veterans Services

2. The Salvation Army

3. Goodwill Industries

4. Jewish Family & Children Services: Updated agreement (start 12/1/20)

5. Catholic Charities: Pending agreement (anticipated begin Dec. 2020)

6. St. Vincent DePaul: Pending agreement (anticipated begin Dec. 2020)

County officials also say they’re also working on a day shelter, in partnership with the Salvation Army, though it’s not ready to go just yet.

"I would anticipate in the next month or so we would stand that up and be at full service," said Mora in an October 2020 interview.

The county was hopeful that it would be running by now, but the Salvation Army tells FOX 4 it's still working to bid out some repair work on the property and isn't sure when that work will be done.

Back at Lion’s Park, some, like George Jacob, tell me they’re hoping to get more support from the county and fewer slaps in the face from those unmoved by their fate.

"[They] spit on us, throw bottles at us, throw garbage at us. Blame everything on us," said Jacob.

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