Planning and Performance Evaluation
Staff prepared planning documents, grant proposals and reports necessary to secure and maintain federal and state funding in excess of $5 million. Funds were used for a variety of public service and infrastructure projects and for programs administered by a number of government, not-for-profit and private agencies including: City of Bonita Springs, City of Sanibel, Town of Fort Myers Beach, SalusCare Inc., CASL Inc., and The Salvation Army.
Staff expended $337,323 of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in five targeted neighborhoods including Charleston Park, Page Park, Palmona Park, Pine Manor and Suncoast Estates to provide a wide array of services including:
Neighborhood Community Centers
|Community garden in Page Park||Thanksgiving event in Pine Manor|
Neighborhood community centers provide a safe environment for educational, recreational and social activities for people of all ages. Resident Coordinators planned activities and coordinated services at the neighborhood centers, and linked residents to resources for assistance in the form of food, clothing, and social services. Approximately $55,684 of CDBG funds were spent for operation of four neighborhood centers and $102,876 were used in employing resident coordinators.
The food pantries in the neighborhoods served an average of 5,280 people per month with $6,653 being spent on food and miscellaneous necessities for 3 neighborhoods. Four neighborhoods are part of the Community Partner Network to assist residents with applying for the Florida ACCESS program benefits (such as food stamps and Medicaid) through the Department of Children and families; 1,215 households utilized the ACCESS stations in the community centers. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's summer feeding program, about 120 children received lunch at the neighborhood centers in Pine Manor, Page Park, and Suncoast Estates.
In Charleston Park, more than 500 people attended the 24th Annual Charleston Park Day festival, 28 residents attended the Thanksgiving luncheon, and 150 residents participated in Harvest Day activities. Free health screenings were provided at the community center once a month as well as GED literacy classes, job training, and resume help. A beautification/garden committee met weekly as well as weekly food canning classes. The youth in the neighborhood participated in cleanup activities.
In Page Park, over 150 residents attended the fall harvest festival, 96 residents attended the Thanksgiving dinner, and 233 attended the Christmas event with 162 children receiving a Christmas gift. A spaghetti dinner fundraiser was held twice serving 198 meals. Over 150 students received backpacks with school supplies. Breakfast was served to an average of 20 seniors weekly. The bookmobile was at the community center 2-4 times per month, and career and employment services were provided.
In Palmona Park, a mobile food pantry distribution occurred 6 times at the North Fort Myers community park which served an average of 150 households at each event.
|Mobile food pantry in Palmona Park|
In Pine Manor, more than 400 residents attended Trunk or Treat at the neighborhood park, over 500 residents attended the Christmas dinner/photos with Santa, 30 residents participated in Make a Difference Day, and 236 students participated in back to school events, including receiving backpacks with school supplies. Pine Manor's Teen Outreach Program served an average of 15 teens on a daily basis and 30 children attended the after-school program each day. A culinary training program was held twice during the year with 22 students graduating.
In Suncoast Estates, over 400 residents attended the Safe Trick or Treat event, over 500 residents attended the Christmas event, and over 800 residents attended the family fun event held over the summer. Multiple services were offered at the community center including Goodwill Job Link, VITA (free income tax filing assistance) on site during tax season, afterschool help for students, teen outreach programs, and free health screenings and tests.
Enhanced Community Directed Policing and Concentrated Code Enforcement
Enhanced community directed policing goals are to stabilize the neighborhood, improve communication between the neighborhood and law enforcement, and reduce the risk of people, property, and businesses becoming victims of crime. Total expenditures for community directed policing were $91,590 (total of 2,290 hours) in four neighborhoods.
Concentrated code enforcement helps to improve the visual and physical appearance of the areas, including street-by-street checks to ensure compliance with county ordinances and citing violations as necessary. Officers inform and educate the residents on complying with county ordinances. The officers also attend neighborhood meetings to report on issues and outcomes. Total concentrated code enforcement expenditures were $76,551 for all five targeted neighborhoods. Enhanced community directed policing and concentrated code enforcement are vital to improving safety and living conditions in the neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Accountability Board
|Lee County Board recognizing NAB volunteers|
Neighborhood Accountability (NAB) staff work with youth, parents, volunteers and victims to repair the harm done when a youth commits a crime. The program uses Restorative Justice Principles, which focuses on determining what harm was done, what needs to be done to repair the harm, and what level of repair the youth can realistically accomplish while using the youth's strengths in developing a case plan.
112 youth successfully completed the program
$14,444 in cash restitution was paid to victims
543 community service hours were served by youth
39 volunteers donated 600 hours by serving on the boards
Moral Reconation Therapy
Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is an organized, cognitive-behavioral, 12-step treatment curriculum designed to enhance self-image, promote growth of a positive, productive identity and facilitate the development of higher stages of moral reasoning. MRT averages 10 to 12 participants per group meeting.
Truancy Assistance Program
The Truancy Assistance Program (TAP) works in collaboration with the Fort Myers Police Department, focusing on truant elementary students who attend an elementary school within the City of Fort Myers in the high-risk zip code areas of 33901, 33905 and 33916. The goal of TAP is to increase student attendance, engage youth in activities in the community, and potentially divert youth from entering into the judicial system.
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