Fort Myers Emergency Assistance Program goes live, website crash due to rush of applications

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
People frustrated with Fort Myers Emergency Assistance Program after website crashes. (WINK News)

The Fort Myers Emergency Assistance Program went live today with some technical difficulties.

Business owners say the application is confusing and requires a lot of documents. They say they can’t go much longer without customers and city residents worry without work they won’t be able to make rent next week.

When the city offered emergency assistance, thousands hoped that cash could help them make ends meet. Easier said than done.

It didn’t take long for frustrated renters and small business owners to fire off these emails to us. Just moments after 8 a.m., when the city of Fort Myers went live online with the program, the website crashed.

People hoping for help could not log in, fearing what they experienced with the unemployment website was happening all over again.

“I set an alarm for 7:30 to make sure I had my computer up and running, I had the website pre-loaded and I honestly just kept refreshing. Right at 8 o’clock, it let me log in and start the application at which point and kept spinning saying processing,” said Courtney Attardo.

Courtney Attardo and her family. (Provided to WINK News)

Her husband owns a small printing company and she’s a preschool teacher. She hoped to apply for both the small business loan and renter’s assistance.

“We live paycheck to paycheck,” she said.

Councilman Kevin Anderson says the immediate rush of applications is to blame for the website crash. Proof, he says, that too many people are hurting.

He wishes the city could do more than offer $720,000 in loans and grants.

“Unlike the federal government, we have to have a balanced budget. If it’s not there, we can’t spend it,” Anderson said.

Attardo did finally submit her application, and now she waits.

“The littlest bit helps,” she said, “and it sounds crazy and people are like, ‘Well what’s a couple of hundred dollars?’ It’s going to do a lot.”

Lots of people are pinching pennies right now. The city says while more than 2,000 people applied for help, maybe 150 of them will get a loan or grant.

The goal is to get that money out to them before bills come due May 1.

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