Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Neighbors Network in Lee County a bricks and mortar building or residential community?

It is neither. It is an organizational model for aging at home and remaining connected to members in your community.

How are we “Neighbors by Choice”?

Neighbors are the people who make up our lives day in and day out. Together, through the choices we make, we create our own unique community. We are also members of the larger Lee County community that is rich in community resources and committed people who want to help.

The Neighbors Network of Lee County will connect ‘neighbors’ to these community resources and fill in the gaps in a most kind and personal way by developing programs that each neighborhood chooses; by locating and scheduling volunteers to help with specific tasks; and by fostering neighborhood spirit throughout Lee County as each village emerges. Our vision is that there will be many villages across Lee County within 10 years.

During 2023, we will start to fulfill our mission by developing a pilot village along the Six-Mile Cypress Expressway Corridor to discover practices that work well in Lee County. We will take experience and knowledge gained during the pilot to develop more villages, throughout the County.

How did the Neighbors Network of Lee County get started?

In March 2018, Trust for America’s Health, with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation and support from the Florida Departments of Health and Elder Affairs, launched a pilot in Florida to prototype state and local Age-Friendly Public Health systems with grants to 37  counties in Florida.

Upon receiving one of the grants in September 2018, the Florida Department of Health-Lee County established the Aging Coalition of Lee County with 50 other organizations and agencies serving older adults.  The Aging Community Health Needs Assessment was conducted in 2019 and based on results, the Coalition selected social isolation as a special focus for coalition activities for the upcoming year.  One of the objectives identified to address social isolation and to support positive aging in one’s own home was to explore the feasibility of creating a village in Lee County based on the nationally-respected Village to Village Network model.

The Village to Village Interest Group of the Aging Coalition of Lee County met for the first time in September 2020.  Based on presentations and mentorship from other villages in Florida and across the nation, and on community needs data, the Village to Village Interest Group concluded that Lee County would be a good home for the Neighbors Network of Lee County (NNLC).

Granted 501(c)3 status effective May 5, 2022, the NNLC is dedicated to support older adults who wish to age in community.  We will accomplish this using a hub and spoke model, the hub providing administrative and back-office support for all villages (also called ‘neighbors networks’) formed throughout Lee County.  The first pilot village will be formed during 2023 in the Six Mile Cypress Parkway corridor, which is the geographic area within or near zip code 33966, including communities in census tracts 12.02, 401.08 and 401.17.  The pilot will provide a roadmap for future villages in Lee County.

The NNLC looks forward to working with other members of the Aging Coalition of Lee County as collaborating partners and to help us locate many other partners in the upcoming months and year as we form the first pilot village in the Six Mile Cypress Parkway corridor.

What DON’T you/we do?

We do not provide emergency care; counselling; home renovations; home health care; medical advice or instruction; on-going daily personal management; aging care management.

What areas are included?

We connect residents of Lee County, Florida, including Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Sanibel-Captiva, Pine Island, Estero, Fort Myers Beach, Alva, Buckingham, and all areas in between.

When will Neighbor to Neighbor services begin?

We are in the business development phase. We look to the new year to launch the Six-Mile Cypress pilot village.

What roles are there for Neighbors?

We are all members: friends, neighbors, volunteers of NNLC neighborhoods. Some of us will help others directly (tasks like check-in calls, transportation, changing smoke detector batteries).

Some of us will help the Neighbors Network of Lee County form into a strong, sustainable network by serving on teams to organize and manage a large volunteer corps.

What are the membership fees?

Our belief is that everyone is a member of a neighborhood and therefore, it does not follow that one would need to pay anything to continue to be a neighbor. However, we know that there are costs. We need to pay for a website management program that ensures we can track volunteer activities, schedule programs, and promote the Neighbors Network of Lee County and each of its villages. We need to vet volunteers and pay liability insurance to protect everyone who joins our villages; we need a telephone line and other office expenditures; and eventually, we will need a paid employee to help us administer the Lee County group of villages.

Our Power of 10 vision is that in ten years, we will have 10 large villages throughout Lee County, serving 10,000 people, and costing less than $10 per person per month. Many villages in the United States charge fees to recover these costs. We are doing everything possible to avoid charging fees. We cannot guarantee that we will not charge a cost recovery fee. Instead, we want all of us to join together and donate what we can for the development and maintenance of a village.

To give you an idea about cost per person, the villages in the U.S. that charge fees, assess roughly anywhere from $100-$1,000 per year per person. If we are able to secure funding though donations and grants, this will enable us to provide low cost or no cost memberships.