The Special Needs Program is available to all Lee County residents at no cost. It provides shelter from a Tropical Storm or Hurricane for those who live in a home and/or area that is not safe from storm surge or wind, and have no other safe place to go. It also provides transportation to a shelter for those residents who do not have a way to get there. You must register to receive these services by completing the Special Needs Program application below.
Registering with the Special Needs Program does not guarantee you will be assigned a space in the Special Medical Needs Shelter. Your application will be reviewed by the Department of Health, and you will be assigned to a shelter where your needs can be managed.
Some things you should know about the program:
- You must register every year. Your application is good for one calendar year only.
- We stop processing applications when Lee County enters the five-day forecast cone of a storm, so submit your application early in the season.
- Not every shelter will open. Only those safe from storm surge and wind for each particular storm will open.
- Emergency Public Shelters are open to everyone and do not require pre-registration.
- Bring to the shelter things you need to survive, such as prescriptions, personal hygiene items, sleeping bag, cot, pillow, change of clothes, glasses, special dietary needs, books/magazines/cards or other things to help pass the time while sheltering.
- Food and water will be provided, but we suggest you bring some food and drinks with you.
- Service animals are allowed in all shelters.
- You can bring your dog or cat to shelter with you at the Special Needs Shelters. They will be housed and sleep in a different area from you, but you will have access to them for feeding, walking and spending time.
What you need to know about the Special Needs Shelter:
- The Special Needs Shelter will be open for those with medical needs that require electricity, such as oxygen dependence, dialysis, ventilators, nebulizers, etc.
- You must pre-register for the Special Needs Shelter using the application above.
- You need a companion/caregiver to accompany you during the time you shelter, as we have a limited number of staff working.
- You will receive a confirmation letter and instructions to advise that your name is on the registry, and what to expect if shelters are opening.
If you have questions about the Special Needs Program, call 239-533-0640.