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Addressing homelessness with tax dollars is not appropriate

By Staff | Dec 30, 2020

To the editor:

Regarding the article, “Cape looks to address homelessness,” published Dec. 25, on page 1A:

Homelessness should not be a focus of the City Council.

In a short two-week period, Councilmember Jennifer Nelson has taken the city from a workshop on exploring the issue of Cape homelessness and has now disclosed that she has been a part of a task force for months and is now supporting a plan to hire two task force leaders for $379,000 a year. The article is also clear that Councilmember Nelson already has a solution that requires a facility within Cape Coral for housing and caring for our homeless.

According to the article, there are 2,700 people in Lee County that are homeless. Lee County has 800,000 residents, therefore the homeless represent 1/3 of 1% of the population. Given that Cape Coral is 25% of the Lee County population, we therefore can assume we have 663 homeless in Cape Coral. The article also pointed out that more than half of the homeless would not use a facility such as proposed by Councilmember Nelson. So, we still would have over 300 homeless wondering the streets despite this effort and expense. There are also arguments that creating a facility for the homeless actually creates more homeless so they can take advantage of this service.

Instead of spending more taxpayer money on this, I suggest having the city manager add homelessness to the Community Development department responsibility without increasing their budget. They already have a $23.9 million budget that should be able to absorb this issue that represents a very small percent (0.003) of our population.

As I stated in a previous opinion, there is plenty of charity and public assistance for those that look for it. We do not need to spend tax dollars or provide a public funded homeless facility. Employing two people to further determine how to spend more money on this issue is typical of government and bureaucracy throwing money at something with little or no results.

Thomas Shadrach

Taxpayer and Cape Coral homeowner