Lee Commissioners allocate $7.5 million to affordable housing developments

Lee Commissioners allocate $7.5 million to affordable housing developments

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to allocate $7.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act Recovery & Resilience program to two affordable housing developments.

The allocations include:

  • $5 million to the Southwest Florida Affordable Housing Choice Foundation, Inc. for preservation and reconstruction of 375 units in the Southward Village, a public housing complex off Edison Avenue. The complex now has 195 units of public housing. Those units will be reconstructed and 185 units will be added in the same complex. Units will be rented to households with income at or below 140% of the area median income.  
  • $2.5 million to Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry County, Inc. for infrastructure development in a planned subdivision of 36 single-family homes. Units will be sold to households with income at or below 80% of the area median income.  

Both will receive funding through Dec. 31, 2024. Both projects will leverage additional grant funding and donations for project completion.

The organizations are required to report quarterly to Lee County on project progress and performance. Lee County will review and submit the required quarterly and annual reports to the U.S. Treasury with information related to each of these projects.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act , Lee County was provided $149 million in funding to support the local response and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds are designed to assist governments in responding to the pandemic, addressing its economic impact, and establishing a foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. 

Funds are being allocated for infrastructure, public health, negative economic impacts, revenue replacement and more. Additional details about allocations are available at www.leegov.com/arpa.

Lee Commissioners approve agreements for ARPA extended learning and after-school programs

Lee Commissioners approve agreements for ARPA extended learning and after-school programs

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted last week to approve agreements with local organizations associated with the federal American Rescue Plan Act Recovery & Resilience program for extended learning and after-school programs that address educational disparities.

The agreements are for funding of $1.6 million through Dec. 31, 2024:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – $227,413
  • Boys and Girls Club – $260,000
  • The Heights Center – $407,891
  • New Horizons – $213,786
  • YMCA – $490,910 

The organizations are required to report quarterly to Lee County on project progress and performance. Lee County will review and submit the required quarterly and annual reports to the U.S. Treasury with information related to each of these projects.

Through the American Rescue Plan Act, Lee County was provided $149 million in funding to support the local response and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds are designed to assist governments in responding to the pandemic, addressing its economic impact, and establishing a foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. 

Funds are being allocated for infrastructure, public health, negative economic impacts, revenue replacement and more. Additional details about allocations are available at www.leegov.com/arpa.

Lee County All Hazards Guide now available

Lee County All Hazards Guide now available

The Lee County All Hazards Guide is updated for 2022 and is available for Lee County residents and visitors. 

Copies of the All Hazards Guide can be found at libraries (www.leegov.com/library/branches) and the Lee County Administration Building, 2115 Second St., Fort Myers.

For neighborhoods or groups seeking large numbers of guides to distribute to residents, call the Lee County Emergency Operations Center at 239-533-0622 to place a request and schedule pickup.

View the guide online by visiting www.leeeoc.com.

The All Hazards Guide contains information needed to be prepared for natural disasters, including hurricanes. The guide contains contacts for resources and provides checklists and steps to follow to be prepared in case of an emergency evacuation.

The guide also is available in both Spanish and Haitian Creole.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week begins May 1. Follow Lee County Public Safety on Facebook www.facebook.com/LeePublicSafety for more information on being hurricane ready.

In addition to the All Hazards Guide, Lee County Emergency Management will host hurricane preparedness seminars.

If you are interested in attending one of these seminars, you can review the calendar at www.leeeoc.com. In the News sidebar on the right, click on “Hurricane Preparedness Seminars Open to the Public.” 

Lee County Emergency Management has two additional tools to help residents prepare for and be aware of hurricanes and other emergency situations – the LeePrepares app and the AlertLee system.

LeePrepares

The LeePrepares app – available in Google Play and the App Store – will be updated in May and assists individuals and families with preparing for and recovering from all types of disasters that may affect the community.

Features include:

  • GPS functionality for locating the user’s Evacuation Zone;
  • Real-time information from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on shelter openings, with mapping/directions and hurricane evacuations;
  • Current Emergency (EOC) Activation Level;
  • Recovery information on re-entry, curfews, points of distribution, and coping with disasters;
  • Links to Special Needs registration for those with special medical needs, and/or transportation needs during an evacuation;
  • Family Disaster Plan and Emergency Supply List;
  • American Sign Language Disaster Preparedness Videos;
  • Current local weather and hazardous weather outlooks.

AlertLee

AlertLee is an emergency notification system that allows registered users to receive telephone, text, and/or email alerts related to natural or man-made emergencies.

The AlertLee system will be used when an emergency arises that you should know about. Severe weather situations, missing persons, evacuation notices, boil water notices, fire or floods and active shooter situations are a few examples of the type of events that may warrant a notification.

To sign up, residents should go to www.AlertLee.com, select their municipality or unincorporated Lee County and complete the registration steps.

Additional resources can be found by visiting the Lee County Emergency Management website at www.leeeoc.com.

Lee County Economic Development and community partners offer workforce and technical assistance programs

Lee County Economic Development and community partners offer workforce and technical assistance programs

The Lee County Economic Development Office, in collaboration with community partners, offers Workforce Training and Certification programs and a Small Business Technical Assistance Program to assist people, businesses and organizations in response to COVID-19.

The programs were developed under the direction of the Lee Board of County Commissioners and are funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

The Workforce Training & Certification Program will offer micro and rapid credentialing programs in response to the education and skills deficiency for disproportionately affected communities exacerbated by COVID-19.

Tuition assistance and scholarships paid through $3 million in ARPA funds will be available for in-demand programs in areas such as health care, real estate/construction and technology offered by:

  • Florida Southwestern State College
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Hodges University

The Small Business Technical Assistance Program will be funded by $475,000 paid to local partners offering technical assistance to small businesses and nonprofits such as business mentoring, organizational development, capital access planning and more.

Partners for the assistance program include:

  • Small Business Development Center
  • SCORE
  • Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association
  • SW Florida Impact Partners
  • Goodwill SWFL – MicroEnterprise Institute

For a full list of programs and services offered, as well as contact information for community partners, visit www.leegov.com/ARPA.

BISSELL Pet Foundation Sponsor Reduced Adoption Fees Across the Country

BISSELL Pet Foundation Sponsor Reduced Adoption Fees Across the Country

Lee County Domestic Animal Services is part of 275+ shelters participating in the spring “Empty the Shelters” event

As shelters across the country face overcrowding, BISSELL Pet Foundation is aiming to “Empty the Shelters” by sponsoring waived adoption fees from May 2-7. This event will be hosted in more than 275 shelters in 40 states, including Lee County Domestic Animal Services.

  • Animal Services will participate May 2-7, 2022, at 5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers, offering waived adoption fees with an approved application.
  • All interested adopters can find pets currently available at www.leelostpets.com. The complete online adoption application also is available.

“Empty the Shelters,” BISSELL Pet Foundation’s largest program, began in 2016 as an effort to encourage more families to adopt a pet into their home. More than 83,000 pets have found adoptive homes through this reduced-fee adoption event. Since its inception, this lifesaving event has expanded to organizations in 45 states and Canada, partnering with a total of 443 animal welfare organizations.

“Shelters across the country are over capacity, and highly adoptable pets are at risk as we face one of the largest crises in recent years,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “BISSELL Pet Foundation is calling on people to visit their community shelters during ‘Empty the Shelters’ to save a life through adoption. Without you, there is no tomorrow for these deserving pets.”

BISSELL Pet Foundation and Lee County Domestic Animal Services urge families to do their research about the pet they are interested in adopting, as well as adoption requirements. For more information on adopting or donating to “Empty the Shelters,” visit www.bissellpetfoundation.org/empty-the-shelters as well as www.leelostpets.com.

Lee Commissioners accept $2 million HUD grant to assist people experiencing homelessness

Lee Commissioners accept $2 million HUD grant to assist people experiencing homelessness

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to accept more than $2 million in Continuum of Care grant funds from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing and services to persons who are experiencing homelessness.

Funds are administered by Human and Veteran Services and local nonprofit agencies. About 2,970 individuals will be provided information, referrals, housing, and supportive services. The allocation will be spent during fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

County Commissioners have prioritized assisting people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Lee County Human & Veterans Services serves as a collaborative hub for resources ‒ federal, state, local, private, and nonprofit ‒ designated to aid Lee County residents through supportive programs and services.

For more information on Lee County Human & Veterans Services programs, log on to www.leegov.com/dhs. If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness, call the department’s coordinated entry helpline at 239-533-7996.

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