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Assistance from Lee County Department of Human Services.

The local community action agency type agency in Lee County Florida is the Department of Human Services. They administer several government assistance programs for those that qualify based on income or age. Some other privately funded resourcs are also offered in Lee County.

The Lee County Department of Human Services provides for several programs by offering Emergency Services. These can provide qualified residents temporary financial relief. There are a number of conditions in place, and the aid is only for eligible applicants. Also financial aid or grants is only for those that are faced with  an unforeseen temporary loss of income or unexpected emergency expense. Location of the office is 2440 Thompson Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901, Telephone: (239) 533-7930.

Financial assistance is directed to vendors such as utility companies, mortgage servicers or landlords.  Due to funding cycles, availability of the programs varies, as well as the eligibility requirements. Please call (239) 533-7996 for further information.

Electric bill assistance is available through several state and federal government programs. They include Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), CTS (or Care To Share) and the more general Emergency Services Utilities.  Water bill assistance is also available under certain circumstances.

A rent or mortgage program provides help to low-income families and individuals with their first month's rent, eviction prevention or past-due mortgage. It is meant to prevent homelessness or rehouse individuals. Clients of the department also receive face-to-face screening and assessment of needs before enrolling in the program.

In addition to financial aid, applicants are routinely referred to other Lee County Florida service providers. This is done if the Eligibility Specialist from the community action agency identifies a need or service that is not currently available through Lee County Department of Human Services programs.

LIHEAP provides assistance to eligible low-income people with paying electric bills for heating costs and cooling. The program is funded by government.




Regular – This once-per-year benefit is not for paying deposits or to prevent disconnection. Once approved for aid, a credit will be applied directly to the next electric bill.

LIHEAP Crisis Offering – This twice-per-year benefit (up to $600.00) is available for deposits/re-connection or to prevent disconnection. It is available once during the Winter season and once during the hot Florida Summer season . All applicants must either document a past-due amount or they need to have a final or disconnect notice from their power company. Applications normally take 2 days to process, but it can be worked in 18 hours in case of a life-threatening situation for anyone in the household due to loss of power.

The goal of the Lee County Department of Human Services crisis program is resolving the issue faced by the applicant. For example, if the utility bill due is larger than the maximum benefit offered from LIHEAP, the power company will need to be called to verify that the benefit available will prevent disconnection. Combining the Crisis and Regular benefits is possible in such cases.

If those are not available, then look into the Emergency Services Utilities. The program is funded by Lee County government tax dollars with some additional support from donations. Eligibility is based upon certain residency, age, citizenship and income.

In the absence of CTS or LIHEAP grants, county funds may be available for electric bill assistance under certain circumstances.  Eligibility for the assistance will be determined by specialists.

Help for water costs. Lee County funds may sometimes be used by the department to pay a portion of a water bill. This is only an option if it contains a past-due notice. Applicant needs to show ability to pay future month's bills on their own, without public aid. Payment is intended to prevent shutoff. Deposits are not eligible.

Assistance is directed directly to utility or gas companies or landlords. Programs’ availability depends on the funding cycles. Eligibility requirements may vary depending on the specific program applied to. Please call for more details. Also, another option is if any member of the household is HIV+ or HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS. This is a program that is also available for assistance with paying mortgage, rent, or utilities.

Care To Share, also known as CTS, was created by Florida Power & Light. The CTS program provides assistance to clients in need who face difficulties concerning their utility bills. Income qualified Florida Power & Light customers have the opportunity to make donations when paying their monthly utility bill. When applying for help, applicants must be able to document to Department of Human Services an unexpected expense or unforeseen temporary loss of household income. The maximum benefit paid out to customers is $350.00.





The homeless can look into First Month's Rent. This Lee County Department of Human Services’ program is funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds as well as Ad Valorem tax dollars . Eligibility is based on certain residency, age, citizenship, and income.

Eligible clients for this housing program are those who are living in a transitional apartment or a shelter and have income in the household. Many users of it are seniors, or the disabled or victims of domestic violence (verification required or referral from ACT Shelter). Additionally, clients with sold or recently foreclosed rentals homes are eligible as well as those with inhabitable houses due some household disasters. Applicants are responsible for finding as well as securing their own housing arrangements.

Help for Eviction Rent or Past-Due Mortgage is also possible from Lee County tax dollars and public funding. Additional resources is from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds. Certain, age, citizenship, residency and income requirements determine eligibility.

Any type of rental assistance paid out is not in the form of cash. Funds are applied directly to landlords or banks. The household or individual must be able to document an appropriate crisis like an unexpected, temporary loss of income due to domestic violence, loss of job, reduced work hours or a medical crisis. In addition to some of those qualifications, an unexpected expense such as funeral costs medical/dental bills, car repair or emergency home repairs display eligibility for the services of this program.

Assistance For Homeless Persons is from Living Independently for Today - LIFT Program. The program is a vital component in the comprehensive Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) for Lee County Florida.

The services of local Continuum of Care Plan include case management, emergency shelter, transitional, supportive, and permanent housing.  LIFT is a more ongoing benefit program after the household has been stabilized for homeless persons.

The goal is helping individuals or families achieve long term self-sufficiency by moving them into permanent housing. This program provides coordination of services and financial resources to help homeless people reach their goals of securing and maintaining housing and self-sufficiency. LIFT is a housing and self-sufficiency program and not an entitlement or income subsidy.

LIFT is funded by a few local agencies in Lee County. They include Federal Supportive Housing Program (SHP) as well as HUD through the McKinney-Vento Act. In addition, LIFT may also receive State Challenge Grant funding and County financial support. Eligibility is based on the HUD or Challenge Grant requirements of homelessness.

Lee County Department of Human Services helps low-income working families through the L.E.E Program, or Education & Employment. It was designed to help them rapidly produce a substantial increase in income. Providing a career path with upward mobility to eligible clients is another goal of the L.E.E. program.




Currently it offers qualified clients with a free, short-term Medical Office Skills training workshop. The services of this program include assistance with resumes and job placement, medical terminology, career development, computer skills, customer service, basic billing and coding, medical office skills, and. more. Eligible applicants are entitled to paid transportation, tuition, books, supplies, and may receive assistance with paying for childcare, and other support services.

In partnership with the Financial Marking Concepts Inc., (FMC), Lee County Department of Human Services offers the Coast2Coast Rx discount medical prescription drug card. This card will allow all county residents, regardless of their total income, age, insurance, or health status to participate. The main objective of the program is helping them save on the cost of their medications.

This medical savings program has already saved cardholders an average of 40% on the cost of prescription drugs. It even covers pet medications and family members living outside the county can apply for the program. The free-of-charge Rx card may be used at all pharmacy chains in Florida and most independent pharmacies in Lee County.


By Jon McNamara











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