Homeless advocates: Naples woman, child living in storage unit not uncommon

Storage units at CubeSmart Storage on Airport Pulling Road.

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER // Buy this photo

Storage units at CubeSmart Storage on Airport Pulling Road.

Wendi Rya Horne

CCSO

Wendi Rya Horne

Storage units at CubeSmart Storage on Airport Pulling Road.

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER // Buy this photo

Storage units at CubeSmart Storage on Airport Pulling Road.

— Wendi Horne-Orr has lived in at least four places in as many years.

Around 2010, the place she called home was the St. Matthew’s House shelter. She later moved from addresses in Estero and Bonita Springs to a recent residence at the Friendship House shelter in Immokalee. On Wednesday, she was found living in a storage unit in East Naples with a 2-year-old boy.

Horne-Orr, who was subsequently jailed on a child neglect charge, told a judge Thursday she had been on a seven-week waiting list for a family room at St. Matthew’s House. She said she left the Friendship House less than a week ago because of problems with the staff and an expectation she’d be receiving a tax return that would help pay for a place to stay.

"Obviously that didn’t happen the way I thought it was going to happen," she said during a bond hearing.

The discovery of Horne-Orr and the boy inside the storage unit was a rare encounter, officials with both code enforcement and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. But homeless advocates say there are likely plenty of families living in storage units or similar structures across the county, out of plain sight.

A spokeswoman said the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t keep track of how many people they’ve dealt with who were living in storage facilities, saying it’s more of a code enforcement issue. Supervisor Jeff Letourneau said in his 14 years with code enforcement, he’s never dealt with anyone living in a storage unit against county code.

"I don’t recall a case like this," Letourneau said.

Vann Ellison, CEO and president of St. Matthew’s House, said homelessness is often an invisible problem in Naples but no less prevalent.

"Here in Collier County, there are more than a few people who will be living in storage units, camping in the woods, living in cars and trying to find parking lots to hide in," he said. "Every time I speak publicly to groups, people always say, ‘Oh, I had no idea that there were poor people or homelessness in our community.’"

Reports say the unit where Horne-Orr and the boy were living contained a microwave, a futon, a fan and a TV behind a dresser in the unit. They also found flies and gnats swarming around a bucket apparently being used as a toilet.

Paramedics found Horne-Orr passed out in the back of the unit next to two empty bottles of vodka and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts, according to the reports.

Horne-Orr was arrested, and the boy, who was described as hungry and dehydrated but in good spirits, was taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

Garrett Reese, who works at an electronic cigarette and supply store at the front of the storage facility, said Wednesday was the first time he’d heard of people living in a unit at that Cube Smart location. He called it an "isolated incident" in an otherwise quiet place.

Still, it’s not surprising, he said.

"Probably all around the world people could be staying in storage units," Reese said. "I guess if you’re homeless, you have no place better to go."

A 2013 count of the homeless in Collier County showed there were 396 homeless adults and 1,054 students in the public schools who are considered homeless, according to the Collier County Hunger & Homeless Coalition. Results for the most recent count held last month won’t be tabulated until April.

The groups of people most at risk for homelessness, Ellison said, are single mothers.

"The main cause of homelessness is that they’re alone, their family won’t help, they’re out of money," he said.

In the past few years, Ellison said he has heard more cases of people found living in storage units or abandoned homes and businesses. The only difference, he said, between a community like Naples and a more urban area is that the homeless here know they are easily spotted.

"In a community like this, a homeless person will stand out and be noticed so they work to be invisible," he said. "In the large cities up north that’s not the case. They don’t care who notices and police are too busy with other issues to challenge or notice them."

Staff writer Maryann Batlle contributed to this report.

© 2014 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 43

WeThePeople2016 writes:

Find the biological Father and hold him accountable for the financial support of the child, if not more.

Yes, and put his photo on NDN prominently displayed as well.

shwing writes:

Why? he didn't do this SHE did.
A perfect example of why the mother should not always get custody, just because she's the mother. I say take a picture of the feces and put THAT on the front page of the NDN.

titanbite writes:

C'mon, poop doesn't stink in Naples!

WeThePeople2016 writes:

in response to titanbite:

C'mon, poop doesn't stink in Naples!

Come on! You know as well as I do that it depends on the income gap. ;)

WeThePeople2016 writes:

in response to shwing:

Why? he didn't do this SHE did.
A perfect example of why the mother should not always get custody, just because she's the mother. I say take a picture of the feces and put THAT on the front page of the NDN.

Ah--so you defend absentee Fathers???Whom apparently has little to no concern about the location and well being of his own son?

myPOV78 writes:

I don't see it read anywhere that she was this child's mother?

WeThePeople2016 writes:

in response to myPOV78:

I don't see it read anywhere that she was this child's mother?

Who do you think it is --her BFF??

ndnebox#268063 writes:

People living in storage units in Naples has been going on since the very early 80's. Back then the popular place to "live" was in the units on Janes Lane and Leann Lane up by Shirley Street. A guy I knew from high school had one all done up. Even put in a loft!!!

drugrep writes:

"The groups of people most at risk for homelessness, Ellison said, are single mothers."

Because too many men walk away from their responsibility. I feel for this woman and her child. I hope she gets help and not just punished and shunned. I am also grateful for the wonderful man I met and married who took his responsibility to family seriously.

Heraclitus writes:

For God's sake, don't ever abort your fertilized egg. Carry it through the nine months of gestation and love it and grow attached to it so you can endure the heart-wrenching agony of having the government take it away.

Maybe the Pro-life groups can help these mothers with finding support so they can keep their children healthy and comfortable?

Pragmatic1 writes:

"Homeless advocates: Naples woman, child living in storage unit not uncommon"
-----------------------

And Republicans insist on cutting food stamps and other family and child support?

Surely this woman has issues that extend far beyond the Republican assumption that she is just lazy.

Makes one wonder what kind of church they get all dressed up on a Sunday to go to.

onlythetruth writes:

in response to Pragmatic1:

"Homeless advocates: Naples woman, child living in storage unit not uncommon"
-----------------------

And Republicans insist on cutting food stamps and other family and child support?

Surely this woman has issues that extend far beyond the Republican assumption that she is just lazy.

Makes one wonder what kind of church they get all dressed up on a Sunday to go to.

Well put. Our County Commission refuses to give any money to social service organizations, but is shocked when something like this happens.

swamp999 writes:

This city hates homeless people. They run them out of town on a rail. They used to be in Cambier Park and over at the Landings park. Granted they were dirty, they are an instant turn off with the tourists and they frequently beg for money. There is no answer for them, St. Matthews is so overcrowded it's a joke. Nobody wants to live next to a homeless shelter. The rich will throw a few nickels at them but they think they're all free loaders. The homeless receive food stamps just for the asking. Some get SSI.
Some sell their food stamps for cash. These people are quite resourceful, they'll live under over pass's, in the woods, on church grounds at night, and they love abondon buildings. Many are mentally disturbed. Most are just without money or the means to make money. They need simple jobs like sweeping, or picking up trash or clearing the waterways full of litter. Many are on drugs if they can get them. They'll sell anything of value to get drugs. But heck, it's not your problem, you have a belly full of food and a roof over your head. Let someone else worry about this!

Upwiththebirds writes:

in response to swamp999:

This city hates homeless people. They run them out of town on a rail. They used to be in Cambier Park and over at the Landings park. Granted they were dirty, they are an instant turn off with the tourists and they frequently beg for money. There is no answer for them, St. Matthews is so overcrowded it's a joke. Nobody wants to live next to a homeless shelter. The rich will throw a few nickels at them but they think they're all free loaders. The homeless receive food stamps just for the asking. Some get SSI.
Some sell their food stamps for cash. These people are quite resourceful, they'll live under over pass's, in the woods, on church grounds at night, and they love abondon buildings. Many are mentally disturbed. Most are just without money or the means to make money. They need simple jobs like sweeping, or picking up trash or clearing the waterways full of litter. Many are on drugs if they can get them. They'll sell anything of value to get drugs. But heck, it's not your problem, you have a belly full of food and a roof over your head. Let someone else worry about this!

Eric, what do you think is the best way to help those with addictions or mental illness? I'm not sure how people can be forced into treatment unless they're baker acted, but then can't they leave after a short time? Even if we could find them jobs, I don't think any of them could really get on their own feet eventually unless they got treatment, and you need at least two months of it.

zurich writes:

The humanitarian thing that should have been done ,instead of arresting her, was to provide her with the necessities to make living in the storage shed comfortably, such as bed, bedding portable toilet, food and clothing . Instead ,the authorities kicked her when she was down .Most of you don't have a clue what being poor ,and homeless is like, especially government (elites,and snobs ).

Upwiththebirds writes:

Zurich, even if they did that I don't see how things could end up well for her or her son if she's an alcoholic without treatment.

GratefulDiem writes:

I am sure pasting her pic all over the TV and news has been very helpful.

Vultures.

davegipson writes:

Point of order:

To my friends who suggest above this child should have been aborted, and that Pro Lifers should support him now - who do you think makes most of the donations to homeless shelters in the area, and why are most all of them Christian-based?

Christians and Pro Lifers are doing the heavy lifting on the homeless issue as far as donations and volunteering, that is not even arguable.

My question to you critics is "WHAT ARE YOU DOING PERSONALLY TO HELP?"

If nothing, don't criticize those who are actually DOING SOMETHING besides writing snarky comments on a tragic story.

God bless (and God help us),
Dave

zurich writes:

in response to Upwiththebirds:

Zurich, even if they did that I don't see how things could end up well for her or her son if she's an alcoholic without treatment.

I missed the part where she is an alcoholic .Was it in another article ?

MasonDixon writes:

in response to Pragmatic1:

"Homeless advocates: Naples woman, child living in storage unit not uncommon"
-----------------------

And Republicans insist on cutting food stamps and other family and child support?

Surely this woman has issues that extend far beyond the Republican assumption that she is just lazy.

Makes one wonder what kind of church they get all dressed up on a Sunday to go to.

Ragmatic, do you follow current events, or does being ignorant and uninformed come naturally to you?
Check out the Farm Bill just passed, and get back with us on your rant about food stamp cuts.

Or you can do what the Dims are now telling you; don't work as hard and get your subsidized Obamacare!
No pay? No worry! Those that do still work will pick up your tab.
Come on down to Honest Obe's Farm, where the living is easy and where we hung the jerk who invented work.

xaltd1#276012 writes:

Insurance issues. Not a happy thought. Think about it

Heraclitus writes:

in response to davegipson:

Point of order:

To my friends who suggest above this child should have been aborted, and that Pro Lifers should support him now - who do you think makes most of the donations to homeless shelters in the area, and why are most all of them Christian-based?

Christians and Pro Lifers are doing the heavy lifting on the homeless issue as far as donations and volunteering, that is not even arguable.

My question to you critics is "WHAT ARE YOU DOING PERSONALLY TO HELP?"

If nothing, don't criticize those who are actually DOING SOMETHING besides writing snarky comments on a tragic story.

God bless (and God help us),
Dave

Hi, Dave... got any numbers or figures or verifiable stats about who's doing what and who's not getting help and why?

Heraclitus writes:

in response to davegipson:

Point of order:

To my friends who suggest above this child should have been aborted, and that Pro Lifers should support him now - who do you think makes most of the donations to homeless shelters in the area, and why are most all of them Christian-based?

Christians and Pro Lifers are doing the heavy lifting on the homeless issue as far as donations and volunteering, that is not even arguable.

My question to you critics is "WHAT ARE YOU DOING PERSONALLY TO HELP?"

If nothing, don't criticize those who are actually DOING SOMETHING besides writing snarky comments on a tragic story.

God bless (and God help us),
Dave

Just curious... what's your position on contraception, the morning after pill, fertility drugs, Viagra, and other methods of artificially messing with nature, or God's will, or whatever?

I don't like abortion of human beings either. Maybe if contraception was taught, made readily available, and used, a lot of this could be avoided?

bossman1 writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

Hi, Dave... got any numbers or figures or verifiable stats about who's doing what and who's not getting help and why?

Her, Dave doesn't like to answer questions, don't be so rude.

bossman1 writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

Just curious... what's your position on contraception, the morning after pill, fertility drugs, Viagra, and other methods of artificially messing with nature, or God's will, or whatever?

I don't like abortion of human beings either. Maybe if contraception was taught, made readily available, and used, a lot of this could be avoided?

Maybe if the pro-lifers and churchs put their effort and money into helping these lost souls instead of closing down 'planned parenthood'?

Been_around writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

For God's sake, don't ever abort your fertilized egg. Carry it through the nine months of gestation and love it and grow attached to it so you can endure the heart-wrenching agony of having the government take it away.

Maybe the Pro-life groups can help these mothers with finding support so they can keep their children healthy and comfortable?

+1000

Been_around writes:

in response to MasonDixon:

Ragmatic, do you follow current events, or does being ignorant and uninformed come naturally to you?
Check out the Farm Bill just passed, and get back with us on your rant about food stamp cuts.

Or you can do what the Dims are now telling you; don't work as hard and get your subsidized Obamacare!
No pay? No worry! Those that do still work will pick up your tab.
Come on down to Honest Obe's Farm, where the living is easy and where we hung the jerk who invented work.

"Ragmatic".....hahahahah....love it!!!

And....+10,000 on the rest of the post.....

Been_around writes:

in response to zurich:

I missed the part where she is an alcoholic .Was it in another article ?

It probably would have triggered more suspicion if she was found 'passed out' with 'three' empty bottles of vodka????....who'd a thunk....OH....I guess she 'found' the empty bottles and was going to turn them in for the deposit.....she was 'passed out' because she was so tired from hunting for them.....

davegipson writes:

in response to bossman1:

Maybe if the pro-lifers and churchs put their effort and money into helping these lost souls instead of closing down 'planned parenthood'?

Great idea. We do. Who do you think funds St Matthews House, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities? Those are all funded by churches and individual donations from Christian citizens.

All of those are privately funded by Christians to help people. Feel free to list the names of all the organizations privately funded by atheists to help the homeless and needy....

Dave

davegipson writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

Hi, Dave... got any numbers or figures or verifiable stats about who's doing what and who's not getting help and why?

No numbers and stats, just these names: St Matthews House, Salvation Army, Catholics Charities.

Do you seriously not see a pattern there? Those are the places in Naples most people go to for help, all funded by private donations from Christians.

davegipson writes:

in response to Heraclitus:

Just curious... what's your position on contraception, the morning after pill, fertility drugs, Viagra, and other methods of artificially messing with nature, or God's will, or whatever?

I don't like abortion of human beings either. Maybe if contraception was taught, made readily available, and used, a lot of this could be avoided?

On my own blog, it's true I do not let Joe or you change the topic with unrelated questions. I will continue to not answer random unrelated questions on my blog, because it is not yours to control.

However, do you not understand the difference between the Protestant and Catholic positions on contraception? You keep asking this on my blog, as if you think I'm a Catholic priest.

With as fascinated as you are with my personal opinions (since now you have taken this article about this tragic situation and made it about me), I would have thought you would understand that difference.

Enough about me already. Why don 't we all get out there today and do something good to help someone? If half the people who comment here actually DID SOMETHING TO HELP, how much better a place would we live in?

God bless,
Dave

jaygee writes:

So ... how come your god allows his people to kill each other? All things considered, doesn't that strike you as kinda un-christian-god-like?

NaplesSparky writes:

in response to zurich:

I missed the part where she is an alcoholic .Was it in another article ?

"Paramedics found Horne-Orr passed out in the back of the unit next to two empty bottles of vodka and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts, according to the reports."

If you're so broke you have to live in a storage shed and poop in a bucket then there really is no such thing as "drinking responsibly". You're an alcoholic.

bossman1 writes:

in response to davegipson:

No numbers and stats, just these names: St Matthews House, Salvation Army, Catholics Charities.

Do you seriously not see a pattern there? Those are the places in Naples most people go to for help, all funded by private donations from Christians.

Dave, I can see a pattern. But can you?
"All funded by private donations from Christains"
BTW, Because you are the pastor and leader of your church you owe everyone the answer to some of your personal beliefs. If I wanted to make a large donation on the churchs web page with my VISA card, shouldn't I know more about the leaders of the church?

shwing writes:

in response to WeThePeople2016:

Ah--so you defend absentee Fathers???Whom apparently has little to no concern about the location and well being of his own son?

You make a lot of (false) assumptions about me and this case. Re-read my original post, then shut up. Where does anyone mention supporting absentee fathers?? Let's deal with just the facts in the article.

davegipson writes:

in response to bossman1:

Dave, I can see a pattern. But can you?
"All funded by private donations from Christains"
BTW, Because you are the pastor and leader of your church you owe everyone the answer to some of your personal beliefs. If I wanted to make a large donation on the churchs web page with my VISA card, shouldn't I know more about the leaders of the church?

Joe, please do not donate anything to my ministry. That is on our webpage for our members who are seasonal or are out of town.

Dave

davegipson writes:

in response to jaygee:

So ... how come your god allows his people to kill each other? All things considered, doesn't that strike you as kinda un-christian-god-like?

Jaygee,

I answered most of these questions on my blog last year.

Here ya go - http://www.naplesnews.com/blogs/jesus...

God bless,
Dave

davegipson writes:

in response to jaygee:

So ... how come your god allows his people to kill each other? All things considered, doesn't that strike you as kinda un-christian-god-like?

bossman1 writes:

in response to davegipson:

Joe, please do not donate anything to my ministry. That is on our webpage for our members who are seasonal or are out of town.

Dave

Have no fear about me donating to your church or thru it's web site.
But, I am curious why you would just ask members of your church for donations. Do they donate enough to cover all the expenses, salaries, help you guys give to those in need? Don't answer that it's a loaded question.
See you at planned parenthood. joe

davegipson writes:

in response to bossman1:

Have no fear about me donating to your church or thru it's web site.
But, I am curious why you would just ask members of your church for donations. Do they donate enough to cover all the expenses, salaries, help you guys give to those in need? Don't answer that it's a loaded question.
See you at planned parenthood. joe

All your questions are loaded - that's why I answer so few of them. ;0)

God can help with bitterness, Joe, if you'll let him. It must be a lot of work to stay that angry all the time.

If I can very help in any way, please let me know. Otherwise, I don't see any point in responding to the continuous insults - I'm only enabling you and providing a target for your anger.

God bless,
Dave

anicou writes:

in response to MasonDixon:

Ragmatic, do you follow current events, or does being ignorant and uninformed come naturally to you?
Check out the Farm Bill just passed, and get back with us on your rant about food stamp cuts.

Or you can do what the Dims are now telling you; don't work as hard and get your subsidized Obamacare!
No pay? No worry! Those that do still work will pick up your tab.
Come on down to Honest Obe's Farm, where the living is easy and where we hung the jerk who invented work.

So true! This is the best post ever.

Heraclitus writes:

in response to davegipson:

On my own blog, it's true I do not let Joe or you change the topic with unrelated questions. I will continue to not answer random unrelated questions on my blog, because it is not yours to control.

However, do you not understand the difference between the Protestant and Catholic positions on contraception? You keep asking this on my blog, as if you think I'm a Catholic priest.

With as fascinated as you are with my personal opinions (since now you have taken this article about this tragic situation and made it about me), I would have thought you would understand that difference.

Enough about me already. Why don 't we all get out there today and do something good to help someone? If half the people who comment here actually DID SOMETHING TO HELP, how much better a place would we live in?

God bless,
Dave

Actually, Dave... no... I don't understand the difference between the Protestant (how many different Protestant denominations have the same position?) and Catholic (one hierarchy... one position?) positions on all the different forms of birth control, contraception, the morning after pill, surgical methods, etc...

I assume that if I ask you to, you'll tell me?

bossman1 writes:

in response to davegipson:

All your questions are loaded - that's why I answer so few of them. ;0)

God can help with bitterness, Joe, if you'll let him. It must be a lot of work to stay that angry all the time.

If I can very help in any way, please let me know. Otherwise, I don't see any point in responding to the continuous insults - I'm only enabling you and providing a target for your anger.

God bless,
Dave

Dave, Please stop 'judging' me or my motives, it's certainly not very Christian-like.
All of my questions arn't loaded, although I admit to trying to show a bit of your personal hypocrisy and what you try to teach.
Killing adults is OK, any abortion done by man, Bad. Done by your God, OK.
'Fact's of Life'? lol
Joe

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