Only shelter in Collier County remaining open after confusion

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Paul Dolan
The American Red Cross in Collier County. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The only shelter open in Collier County is causing residents confusion on whether or not they are closing at the end of the week.

However, Collier County officials confirmed that the shelter will remain open and not close on Friday.

It was just a sign, shown below, that spawned all the confusion, even scaring some staying at the North Collier Regional Park shelter.

The sign that sparked all the confusion if the shelter was closing or not. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Steve Watson has been at the shelter for just a few days and he said when the signs went up on Monday, he called Red Cross directly trying to get an answer.

“She asked me specifically ‘was the sign on Red Cross letterhead’ and I said ‘no it wasn’t’ and I said ‘did they maybe just put that up there to get people hustling to fend for themselves to find their own housing’ and she said ‘it is very possible,”‘ Watson said.

Carrie Denemy was one of the first to arrive at the shelter and has been there for three weeks. In the past week she told WINK News, officials have been talking about closing it.

“Sometimes it just seems like well, “‘we don’t care.”‘ I understand that Red Cross cares, I love Red Cross,” Denemy said.

But confusion began to boil up and when the sign was put up, people were worried.

“We’re like when? We know it’s going to be closing soon but when and we know if the shelter closes another one is supposed to be opening up and they said ‘no, if this one closes that’s it, you guys,’ and I said ‘what do you mean are we going to be put out on the streets or what?’ And they said ‘well we can give you tents. We can…’ What do you mean? They said ‘yeah, you can mark down a tent and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll save you a tent and you can go camp,”‘ Denemy said.

While Denemy’s frustration is evident the good news is that nobody will be getting a tent because the shelter will remain open.

WINK News was told Red Cross will have access to the site until it’s no longer needed.

Caseworkers are working to try and find everyone temporary housing.

Also, the sign already has different wording to clear up any remaining confusion.

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