homelessness

Scott Calls For Shifting Money To Homeless Programs

Jul 3, 2018

The Florida Department of Children and Families will seek approval from lawmakers to shift $3.1 million to help fill a gap in funding for homeless-prevention services, Gov. Rick Scott’s office said Monday. 

Stranahan Park Homeless Camp
Robin Martin / WLRN

Ten people who are homeless and have been suing the City of Fort Lauderdale  for the past year, have reached a settlement with the city.

In Fort Lauderdale City Hall,  city commissioners voted Tuesday night in favor of settling the lawsuit for a total of $82,020 dollars. 

That money is expected to be paid out to 10 of Fort Lauderdale’s homeless, which will be divided up between each of the plaintiffs, and attorney's fees and costs.

Ben Sorensen

Fort Lauderdale made national headlines last year when bulldozers cleared out a homeless encampment in Stranahan Park. Before that the city had become part of late night talk show fodder after authorities arrested then 90-year-old Arnold Abbott for feeding the homeless in areas not designated for that activity.

The flu descended on Connie Gabaldon like a fog, she recalled, clouding her mind and compromising her judgment. It progressed to chest and back pain, the aches perhaps made worse by a fall the 66-year-old had while riding the bus in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Gabaldon is homeless. When she went to the emergency room in late January, doctors told her she also had pneumonia, a sinus infection and the flu.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The winter solstice, Dec. 21, is marked every year as Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. It's the longest night of the year.

Every year Key West holds a ceremony remembering those who died during the year. This year 71 names were read.

They ranged in age from infants to 95.

But only nine of them were homeless. The rest were people still listed on the county forms as "paupers" - those whose remains went unclaimed. So the county takes responsibility for cremation and their remains are placed in the crypt owned by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.

Nan Rich at a podium
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

In 2016 alone, The Broward County Housing Council counted more than 2,300 homeless people living inside county lines. 

So, the civic and business group Tower Forum, in Fort Lauderdale, hosted a panel for local business people to get a glimpse into what’s being done at the county level to solve homelessness, especially in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. 

Robin Martin / WLRN

On May 19, Fort Lauderdale police officers and city workers showed up without notice at Stranahan Park with dozens of blue trash bins, a front-end loader and a dump truck. They ordered all the homeless living there to put their stuff in the bins; the rest of the stuff was scooped up by the loader and thrown in the dump truck.

HOPE South Florida

Starting Monday, the more than two thousand homeless people in Broward County will have access to free showers thanks to HOPE, a non-profit based organization.  

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

Kate Stein / WLRN

The key to avoiding Zika is avoiding contact with the mosquitoes that carry Zika. The official advice is to wear bug repellent, avoid affected areas, and stay indoors. But for people who spend extended periods of time on Wynwood's streets, following that advice is difficult.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Once again Miami-Dade County is asking - how many homeless kids are living here?

Last year there were 112 counted young homeless people living in Miami-Dade County. “Counted,” being the operant term, because it’s tough to get an accurate number of those under the age of 24 who are homeless through self-reporting, for the most part.

Many are living with friends or distant relatives - what’s called “doubled up” - and don’t necessarily consider themselves homeless, according to social workers who work with this population.

Florida Keys Outreach Coalition

  This year, 78 people will be memorialized at two services marking Homeless Persons' Memorial Day in the Florida Keys.

That's up from 54 last year. Stephanie Kaple, chief operating officer of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, said many factors contribute to the increase.

"I think that what this shows is probably our economic recovery is not as strong as we think it is," she said.

Students who are considered homeless by Florida schools can be living in hotels, trailer parks, in campgrounds or doubled up with friends or relatives. And with as many as 71,000 or more homeless students in the state the challenges can extend beyond the kids and families to include the schools.

For most kids school is a place of achievement and learning, or just a place to socialize with friends. But for kids without stable living arrangements it can mean much more than that.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

UPDATE: At a meeting Thursday, March 12, the Miami City Commission deferred a final vote on the proposed "anti-camping" law for 30 days.

The Miami City Commission has a final vote scheduled for Thursday that would make it illegal for the homeless to camp out on public property.

The commission tentatively approved a version of the law on February 12 that banned “camping paraphernalia” such as sleeping bags and bedding.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

The City of Miami recently approved a preliminary law that would make it illegal for homeless people to erect tents on public sidewalks.

The law also prohibits setting up blankets and pillows on sidewalks, which concerned homeless advocates and prompted criticism that the city was criminalizing homelessness.

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