LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Rieves residential mental health facility in Ft. Myers will close on September 28. Lee Mental Health says the $1.2 million budget is being cut, and the state is focusing more on community-based mental health treatment.
"This is happening all over the state. This is the last Level One (intensive care) residential facility, left between Naples and Tampa. Now, it's closing," said David Winters, chief executive of Lee Mental Health.
The program allows up to 16 people to live at Rieves, while looking for work and a place to live out in the community. The residential facility has been operating since the mid-1980s.
"It is a vital and needed service. I don't know if it is right or wrong (to close it). But I do know the community will miss it, it's a vital service. It is sad," said Stacy Cook-Hawk, who's worked at Rieves off and on for two decades. "We will do the best we can to place people and monitor them in the community."
About 25 people will be re-assigned to other jobs in the Lee Mental Health organization. Some may opt to get jobs with other mental health groups in the community.