City begins moving homeless people out of Fort Myers park

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
The homeless camp at Lions Park. Credit: WINK News

By 10:30 p.m. Friday, Lions Park in Fort Myers must be empty of people experiencing homelessness, and the relocation process was already well underway to begin the early hours of the day. A man experiencing homelessness at a different location claims police moved others early in the morning.

Lee County’s homeless outreach team was  at the park talking with the homeless and seeing what they need and what services could be provided.

Mayor Kevin Anderson also visited to assess the situation, and police were present too.

“This morning, I pulled up and I said ‘Oh, there’s still tents here,’ but then I said ‘Well, there’s a lot of tents that are no longer here,'” Anderson explained. “So we can see progress has been made in housing people.”

There’s police tape up around the camp where homeless people were living at the park.

While the deadline given to the homeless people at the park was for 10:30 p.m., a video taken by a someone at the Fort Myers Regional Library at 2450 First St. and sent to a homeless advocate said they were being moved while they were sleeping. The man in the video said around six police officers showed up to move them around 2:40 a.m. Friday morning.

We asked Fort Myers Police Department about the video to see where the people were being moved to and what exactly happened. FMPD says it is looking into the video.

Fort Myers approved a plan Monday that would cost about $22,000, putting the homeless up in hotels temporarily, but it’s unknown if that is where the people are being moved right now.

Advocates say they want the city and county to come up with a permanent solution

“Housing advocates of Lee County have been alerting the city and the county to this situation since October, with the closing of Centennial Park, and I’ve looked into it personally,” homeless advocate Kat Duesterhaus said. “We’ve spent over $126 million on the homeless issues over the last 10 years, and we barely made a dent in it.”

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