LeeCARES programs set to give financial assistance to individuals, small businesses

Millions of dollars in financial relief will be going to families and business owners in Lee County.

Lee County residents and businesses can apply to get help with rent and childcare through the LeeCARES programs starting Tuesday.

And, if you’re a business owner, you can ask for what the county calls “relaunch” money.

Lee County received $57 million from the federal government as part of the CARES Act.

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners knows, even with the reopening of the economy, a growing number of families are struggling to make ends meet. And small businesses that have been shut down for months can’t make up that lost revenue, so Lee County hopes the federal money will provide relief to those who meet the criteria.

“I can’t afford to go back to work because I’m taking care of my child,’” said Jeannine Joy with United Way.

Joy told us scholarships will be available for qualifying families. There is a long list of “gold seal providers” offering a range of day care and summer camp options.

If you need rent, mortgage or utilities assistance, Lee County is making a maximum $2,000 available to households.

Payments will be made directly to landlords, mortgage companies and/or utilities.

Household income must be less than $55,000 dollars a year.

But there’s more.

For Ayesha Ali-Goring Olson, she’s counting down the minutes until she can apply for help for her massage business.

“I’m usually booked up two to two and a half months in advance,” Ali-Goring Olson said.

Ali-Goring Olson told us, even with some restrictions lifted, it’s been tough getting clients back to Island Touch Therapeutic Massage in Fort Myers.

“I have clients who are diabetic. I have clients with MS. I have clients who are going to chemotherapy,” Ali-Goring Olson said. “And they’re the ones that are staying away, and they’re the ones that would be here every two weeks.”

Tuesday morning, Ali-Goring Olson will be applying for the Small Business Assistance program, hoping to get the $5,000 relaunch grant.

And 8 a.m. Tuesday, LeeCARES will go online. That’s where people who needs help with rent, mortgage, utilities or small business owners must go to apply for assistance.

Childcare is different. If you need help, you go to the United Way of Lee County’s website. There you will find a list of “gold seal providers.” Parents will be able to call those places to check availability.

United Way hopes to approve families in need before the end of the week.

LeeCARES Individual Assistance Program

LeeCARES Small Businesses Relaunch Application


Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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