The count was done back in January by the Lee County Homeless Coalition, an advocacy group made up of groups working to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time. The survey did not break down the numbers by city or zip codes.
Once per year the Coalition, with the help of volunteers, conducts a Point in Time census to count the homeless and provide data to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The PIT count is also used to gather the information that allows local service providers to target services to meet the specific needs of the homeless in the local community.
The PIT count, which asked people where they slept the night of January 26, 2021, included both sheltered and unsheltered homeless people and families.
The PIT count documented 394 homeless people, of whom fifty-seven (14.47%) were chronically homeless according to the HUD definition. That number is down from 444 one year ago. HUD defines chronic homelessness as “an unaccompanied adult homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either continuously been homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.”
Data obtained through the Lee County Homeless Management Information System and PIT count found that during the year, there were an estimated 2,789 people experiencing homelessness in Lee County.
– 29.44% of the 394 reported having a disabling condition.
– Among the 394 were thirty families with sixty-five children.
– There were 39 veterans, 35 of which were active in a Rapid Rehousing program working with a case manager to obtain housing.
The homeless situation has been a consistent topic for discussion at recent Fort Myers Beach public safety committee meetings. The local churches do what they can to help those experiencing homelessness. They’ve received some criticism for that. Other than the local churches, Fort Myers Beach does not have its own program to help the homeless, relying more in Lee County to help with the issue.