Catholic Charities using grant money to re-house people pushed into homelessness

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

More families than ever are being pushed to the streets as they struggle to make ends meet. But there’s help right now: Catholic Charities has received a grant to help 40 families by covering their rent and utilities.

Marvin White was the first person to be re-housed by the program. He says code enforcement condemned his home in late 2019, and he spent a year sleeping in parks and hotels. After being admitted to the hospital in December 2020, White heard about Catholic Charities.

By the time he was discharged, he had a new place to call home.

“They provided me with a place to live, and they helped me pay my rent up until I can get myself comfortable, and thanks to them I’m able to live in my own place,” White said. “I felt marvelous, it felt really great to finally have somewhere that I could just call home.”

We know the homeless population in our area is growing. And when Fort Myers closed Centennial Park, that just left many people that stayed in the park with nowhere to go. Catholic Charities has so far helped over a dozen families in need with their grant money. But it has more than $600,000 left and is looking to use it before June.

“The mission of Lee County and Catholic Charities as an agency for this particular program is that homelessness is a brief experience and it’s a one-time experience for the clients,” said Alex Olivares with Catholic Charities. “We don’t want to leave them in a position where six months down the road they’re facing homelessness again, so this program is really great and provides case management and assistance.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Lee County Department of Human and Veterans Services at (239) 533-7996. You’ll be asked to complete a screening before the department connects you to resources like Catholic Charities.

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