The Lee County Homeless Coalition said it counted about 100 more people during its annual census this year than last year. The Lee County Homeless Coalition hosts its annual Homeless Service Day and Veterans Stand Down as a way to count how many people are homeless in Lee County on any given day. Over 500 people showed up to the recent event. More than 100 of them were veterans.
Free food and supplies, including hygiene products and free haircuts, were available. There were many contributors to the event, including governmental agencies, business, churches, and a local dentist who donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Janet Bartos, Executive Director of the Lee County Homeless Coalition, said their goal is to connect people with services that can help them out of homelessness.
“We wanted to promote self-sufficiency; the collaborative services provided at the stand down can give these homeless participants a greater sense of self and improve their chance of securing and maintaining employment.”
Last year, the Homeless Coalition estimated there were about 3,000 people who were homeless in Lee County. Florida has the third highest number of people living on the streets or in shelters in the US. Bartos said they are typically single parents with children.