News Stories

Helping the Homeless in Lee County With H.O.P.E. Bags

The Lee County Tax Collector office is helping the homeless with a service project. It’s called, “Gifts of H.O.P.E.” The acronym stands for, “Helping Our People Everyday.”

There are many people in Lee County without a place to live that could use the assistance.

On Jan. 20, 2018, Lee County took part in a national census where cities counted the number of families and individuals who were homeless. The Point in Time census showed that 2,957 people were homeless in Lee County , with nearly 40 percent over a year. The numbers included those who were living in shelters and on the streets.

“I’ve seen people physically disabled, missing a leg and things like that on the street,” Janet Bartos said, executive director of the Lee County Homeless Coalition. “They are just very unhealthy and dirty. It makes you feel bad when you see someone in a condition like that.”

These small bundles of hope are filled with basic hygiene items and an assortment of other small necessities. These include items such as bug spray, rain ponchos and sunscreen.

If you’d like to help, they are asking the public for donations of these items:

  • Feminine products
  • Travel-size first-aid kits
  • Bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment and wipes
  • Socks
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Rain ponchos
  • Travel-size tissue packs
  • Deodorant
  • Combs
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm

The government agency is hoping to increase the number of bags given to homeless people in Lee County. It has handed out nearly 50 bags since Gifts of H.O.P.E. began in June.

Additional reporting by Michael Adam Mora