Annual Report/Program Highlights For Fiscal Year 2012
Instead of incurring the costs associated with preparing a "formal" electronic or printed Annual Report, we now opt to use this page of our website to highlight various happenings in the Department's program areas during Fiscal Year 2012.
Contracts Staff support community-based non-profit agencies in delivering social service programs to meet diverse human service needs in Lee County. The unit provides oversight, monitoring, and technical assistance to ensure services are delivered to Lee County residents in accordance with Federal, State, and Local funding regulations and requirements.
· Managed a combined total of 94 contracts with 40 organizations.
· Utilized and maintained compliance with varying local, state, and Federal requirements for 12 different funding sources.
· Expended $17,940,738.93
· Two multifamily rental complexes received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Platinum Certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. The projects were the first affordable housing developments in Lee County and the State of Florida to receive this designation. The Southwest Florida Affordable Housing Choice Foundation, Inc. (a nonprofit affiliate of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers) in partnership with Lee County used Federal stimulus funds allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to renovate the foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties. Florida Power and Light provided the installation of solar water heaters, which are one of the upgrades included as part of the green rehabilitation that also included high-efficiency HVAC systems, low-volume plumbing fixtures, high performance windows, Energy Star fixtures and insulation that exceeds building code requirements. The complexes consist of 54 units for residents, with earnings below 50% of the area median income. In addition to assisting the residents to be able to save on utilities, directly contributing to their quality of life, more than 30 construction jobs were created for workers in the community.
Broadway Apartments ribbon cutting ceremony
· Using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) contracted with Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida to administer the Southwest Florida Microenterprise Project. This partnership between several organizations provides training and grants for the unemployed and/or individuals with low-to moderate income and/or other disadvantages to start their own micro-enterprise, which is any type of small business with fewer than five employees. Since the program started in early 2010, nine (9) training classes were conducted with 87 participants graduating; 45 graduates are in business (27 being new start ups) with a total of 69 employees. The project will continue and again be funded using CDBG for the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
September 2012 Microenterprise Graduating Class
Staff also manage the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) which is used by multiple agencies who provide services to homeless citizens of Lee County. The system captures client-level information on the characteristics and service needs of adults and children experiencing homelessness in our community.
For complete information on programs and services provided by Contracts, please visit their section of our website at: http://dhs.leegov.com/contracts/Pages/Contracts.aspx
Housing Services Staff work to address substandard living conditions to ensure decent, safe, and sanitary living environments. They offer a variety of affordable housing services designed to meet the needs of eligible low-income households. Services include housing rehabilitation, emergency home repairs for homeowners, home buyer down payment assistance, as well as development of supported housing.
Staff, local general contractors, the Lee County Lands Division, Home Ownership Resource Center, and Lee County Housing Development Corporation, work together to use Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding to turn abandoned, foreclosed homes into affordable and safe housing. This program benefits all Lee County citizens because the program stabilizes neighborhoods, removes blight, deters theft, places qualified families into once abandoned homes, and creates jobs. As of September 30, 2012, 170 houses were purchased for rehabilitation and 135 homes sold to qualified buyers.
NSP home before rehabilitation
NSP home after rehabilitation
The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program provides assistance to low-income households with emergency, minor, moderate, and major repairs. Typical repairs include roof, septic, well, electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, windows and doors. During the year, $558,000.00 in CDBG and HOME funds were spent throughout Lee County on this program. In addition, $260,000.00 in Weatherization funds were spent on low-income homes to make them more energy efficient.
For complete information on programs and services provided by Housing Services, please visit their section of our website at: http://dhs.leegov.com/programs/housingservices/Pages/Overview.aspx
Family Self-Sufficiency staff provide financial assistance and case management to low-to-moderate income households in Lee County. Their goal is to assist households to become, or to remain, self-sufficient through four main program areas: Emergency Services, Homeless Services, the Housing Opportunities For Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), and Job Training (LEE Program). Intake staff again served record numbers of clients this past year. 14,500 households were screened for emergency one-time assistance with housing or utilities. Only 15% of these clients were deemed ineligible for assistance. Here are a few highlights and client stories:
Homeless Programs staff are busy implementing two new programs to rapidly re-house homeless households. Partnering with the American Red Cross, a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant was secured and started in October 2012. Collaborating with the United Way, Children’s Home Society, and the Lee County School district, staff re-housed 15 homeless households with children during the last quarter through BRIDGES. Both initiatives allow the testing and evaluation of the Housing First model, which is endorsed by HUD.
Mary, a client of the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and her daughter Jane arrived in Lee County 5 years ago from the US Virgin Islands. Mary’s fiancé lived in Lee County. Jane was 12 when Mary got married. Mary was diagnosed with HIV the following year. A few months later Mary started to feel very ill. She woke up late one night and went into the kitchen for water. She discovered her 14 year old daughter being sexually abused by her stepfather. Police were called immediately. It was later discovered he was poisoning Mary and would have been the sole guardian of 14 year old Jane had Mary died.
Mary felt she had to move her daughter out of the place they were living quickly. Neither one could sleep. She was referred to HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with Aids) by her medical case manager.
Mary was informed she would have to find a place to live and get a job so she would be able to pay ongoing expenses. She had not worked in Florida before. She was overwhelmed with the Florida court system, The Department of Children and Families, her daughter’s mental health and her health issues. We worked on a Plan of Care to address all her needs. Mary was able to find a job within three days and found a place to live shortly thereafter. HOPWA was able to assist with first month rent, security deposit , and utility deposits.
Mary quickly discovered her job was very dependent on seasonal tourism so she decided to get a more reliable job. Together we worked on a new Plan that assessed what jobs were available in Lee County and the pay. Mary decided to become a CNA. She enrolled in school and will be taking her State exams next month. She wants to continue to get her LPN and possibly her RN degree.
Mary is very grateful for all the assistance she received over the last two years. She has been able to provide for most of her daughters needs with very little additional help. For the last two years at Christmas time, Florida Power and Light employees provided gift cards for this family.
As of this writing, Mary and Jane continue to receive counseling and are very involved in church. Mary is proud of her mother and is doing well in school. Mary wants to become a nurse. (Note: The names in this story were changed to maintain confidentiality and protect everyone involved).
For complete information on programs and services provided by the Family Self-Sufficiency Unit, please visit their section of our website at: http://dhs.leegov.com/programs/familyselfsufficiency/Pages/FamilySelfSufficiency.aspx
Planning and Performance Evaluation- Staff prepared planning documents, grant proposals, and reports necessary to secure and maintain federal and state funding in excess of five million dollars. 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, Lee Mental Health Center, Inc., CASL, Inc., The Salvation Army, Southwest Florida Addiction Services, as well as the Lee County Department of Human Services.
Annual grant documents prepared and funds received for FY 2012:
Lee County Annual Action Plan for US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) FY 2012/2013: $2,818,509
Lee County Homeless Continuum of Care Strategic Plan for US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) FY 2011/2012: $2,230,767
Neighborhood Relations- Staff utilized $730,083 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:
Resident Coordinators- work with residents, leaders, and providers to meet revitalization goals by coordinating activities and services, and linking people to resources at the neighborhood centers. CDBG funds totaling $101,740 were utilized in employing Resident Coordinators who assisted an average of 9,500 people per month (duplicated count for all neighborhoods).
Operating neighborhood centers- provides a safe environment for educational, recreational, and social activities for people of all ages as well as direct assistance in the form of food, clothing, and social services. Approximately $34,894 was spent for operation of four neighborhood centers.
Food pantries- served approximately 5,800 people per month in two neighborhoods spending $5,879.
Enhanced community-directed policing and concentrated code enforcement- provides services which are vital to improving safety and living conditions in the neighborhoods. $18,100 for community-directed policing in two neighborhoods and $60,296 for concentrated Code Enforcement.
In all five neighborhoods, approximately 3,936 families were assisted with the Florida Access program which provides families with food assistance through the Department of Children and Families.
In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture's summer feeding program, 1096 children received lunch at Pine Manor’s neighborhood center.
Page Park, in partnership with Senior Friendship Centers, worked with an average of 13 seniors per day.
Pine Manor’s Teen Outreach Program served an average of 13 teens on a daily basis.
In Charleston Park, over 600 people attended the Charleston Park Day festival and 112 residents attended the Christmas Party held at the neighborhood center.
In Page Park, 250 residents attended the Harvest Festival and over 200 residents attended the Thanksgiving Dinner.
In Pine Manor, 300 residents attended the Christmas Dinner at the neighborhood center, 500 attended Trunk or Treat at the neighborhood park, and 424 residents participated in the Back to School Fling.
In Suncoast, 809 children were provided gifts through the Christmas Toy Program, over 650 attended the Trick or Treat Safe Street event.
Charleston Park Day 2012
Page Park Christmas Dinner
Suncoast Estates Christmas Toy Program
Infrastructure and capital improvement projects- approximately $503,580 was spent on improvement projects including: sidewalks and drainage in Palmona Park and Pine Manor; playground equipment for younger children and a new water fountain in Hunter Park (Pine Manor); and additional basketball hoops and bleachers at the covered pavilion in Charleston Park. Work continued on improvements to the Page Park and Pine Manor community centers.
Hunter Park in Pine Manor
Neighborhood Accountability Board (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 utilizing the youth's strengths in developing a case plan.
• 129 youth entered the program
• 102 youth successfully completed the program
• $10,037 in cash restitution was paid to victims
• 948 community service hours were served by youth
• 489 hours were completed by volunteers serving on the Boards
Art project from a 16 year old female NAB participant
For complete information on programs and services provided by Neighborhood Building, please visit their section of our website at: http://dhs.leegov.com/programs/neighborhoodbuilding/Pages/NeighborhoodDevelopment.aspx.
Administration, Clerical, and Fiscal
Administration, Clerical, and Fiscal staff work in support of the entire Department. They provide a wide array of services critical to smooth day to day operation of the office and have detailed knowledge of all programs and services offered.
The following charts provide detailed information on expenditures for all the above program areas for Fiscal Year 2012.