Wounded Warriors sues Naples over veteran housing dispute
A nonprofit working to better the lives of veterans is in a dispute with a Southwest Florida city over one of its projects aimed to put a roof over the heads of former military service members.
Wounded Warriors of Collier County is suing the City of Naples after City Council did not approve its goal to house eight veterans in a home it’s calling Alpha House.
“It’s for our veterans who defend our freedom, stand up in the force of evil and protect our country,” said Dale Mullin with Wounded Warriors of Collier County. “I know what it’s like to go to war, to come home, to go to work, and you need help, and you can’t get a hand up.”
Mullin created transitional living home Alpha House to give homeless veterans a place to live
But under the city’s zoning code, only four people can live in a house together if they are not related.
“Well, I think it’s a good thing,” Mary Williams said.
It’s been an ongoing battle. Back in September 2020, Wounded Warriors asked the city to approve eight people living in the home for mental health purposes; however, Naples City Council denied the request.
“It’s important to have two individuals in a room because of isolation and loneliness,” Mullin explained. “Having two in a room allows them to really be accountable for each other.”
Some neighbors who live near Alpha House think four is enough.
“I don’t think it would be a good thing to put eight people together,” Williams said. “This could cause problems with dealing with people that have problems.”
Under the Fair Housing Act, Mullin feels the group is being discriminated against. That’s why Wounded Warriors of Collier County decided to sue.
“We are not trying to harm anybody in this lawsuit,” Mullin said. “We are trying to help our veterans who deserve a safe place to live and a place they can get their lives restored.”
The City of Naples did not reply to our request for comment on the lawsuit. The city has 21 days to respond to the court.
“It’s a brotherhood. When you’ve been in the military, there is a brotherhood that carries you through life,” Mullin said. “We are not going to give up the fight.”