Homeless Rates Up in Alachua, Columbia County
Published July 16th, 2013
Gainesville, Fla. -- There are about 10,000 fewer homeless people living in Florida this year than last, that's down more than 17% statewide.
The Department of Children and Families is now reporting just over 45,000 floridians are homeless.
The numbers are from the state's annual one day count and represent a 25% drop since 2007.
However, a closer look will show that some areas in North Central Florida still struggle with a homeless population that's doing the exact opposite.
Despite Alachua County's best efforts, the numbers are still on the rise.
Alachua along with Columbia county are two in North Central Florida that saw an increase in homeless residents.
"We did see a decrease in the number of unsheltered homeless folks," Executive Director of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry Theresa Lowe said, "those are people who are living in tent city or Bo Diddley plaza, that number went down by a fair amount."
Statewide officials credit a recovering economy for the overall decline, and say they want to keep trying to get more Floridians back to work.
"It's a whole lot cheaper to pay a little bit of rent to keep someone housed than it is to pay for their shelter once they're homeless," DCF Director on Homelessness Tom Pierce says, "so I think you will see a much bigger push with our Federal resources that we have here in the state to put that money into prevention-related programs."
Now in year 8 of a 10 year plan to end homelessness in the county, Lowe hopes opening a new one stop homeless shelter at the former Gainesville Correctional Institution will be a key step in reversing rising numbers.
For more information on this year's statistics, visit http://www.myflfamilies.com
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