Possible mold in North Fort Myers shelter

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Shelter in North Fort Myers. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Businesses have said they’re fed up with what’s happening outside the North Fort Myers shelter, claiming they’re being impacted by people using drugs and others bothering customers.

It’s only been open for a week, but over the last several days, people have complained about the conditions inside. They’re talking about everything from no soap to the possibility of mold. The company running the shelter that houses more than 500 hurricane survivors said mold is possible in the building.

On Wednesday, WINK News learned that between 45 and 50 of them are students. The school district mentioned they’re working to figure out who the students are and which schools they attend. They also said they’re going to have staff at the shelter on Thursday to help sort it all out.

A picture of possible mold in the shelter. (CREDIT: WINK News)

For five days, WINK News was asking the company running the shelter, CDR Maguire, if there was any mold, and on Wednesday they said it could be.

CDR Maguire sent WINK News the following statement: “While some pictures show old and dirty ducts, and possible small areas of mildew or mold, those are not in service. We will be bringing in an environmental contractor to review the 3-4 areas of concern.”

The people that are calling the old Publix their home, for the time being, are not surprised.

“Nothing surprises me these days,” one of the people staying at the shelter said.

They believed it because they have seen it every day.

“There’s sick people in there, babies coughing all night; I’ve even started coughing,” another person staying at the shelter said.

Across the parking lot from the shelter, businesses said they’re getting impacted too.

“We have a lot of drug paraphernalia and usage that happens right in front of our establishment,” one of the business owners said.

The business is owned by a couple, and they said they’re scared to show their faces or say the name of the restaurant while the shelter is still open.

“They just hang out out front, pick up our tables, you have to chase them off,” the business owner said. “They sleep on top of our outdoor seating areas. We’ve seen people do illegal drugs in front of our faces.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has seen it also. Last week, LCSO arrested a man for trafficking fentanyl near the North Fort Myers shelter.

CDR Maguire said they will do another inspection for mildew or mold soon.

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