Cold Nights for Homeless
As temperatures outside drop, some of the coldest places in North Central Florida will be the streets.
Some say there's help out there for the homeless, but they just can't get to it.
The homeless in downtown Gainesville are more than strangers to Monica Groce; she feeds them twice a week and now, she's worried about them.
"It's cold, and they just have no where to go," she said.
The city funds, "Cold Night Shelter" a $50,000 program that pays to house the homeless overnight when temperatures drop.
The money is split evenly between the Saint Francis House and the Alachua County Housing Authority.
Whoever can't stay in the homeless shelter, is put up in a motel by the housing authority.
However, Groce says getting there is the problem.
"There are vouchers that are given out through the housing authority, but some of them wont have transportation to make it to the place to get the voucher, or to go to where the voucher will be able to be used," she said.
Housing Authority Director Gail Monahan says most of the homeless who use the cold night vouchers have RTS bus passes.
"Although its maybe not popular to say, I find homeless people to be extremely mobile," she said.
Monahan says last year, the agency spent more than $25,000 to house the homeless on cold nights.
"We had two cold nights in October, now to the city's credit, they had already gotten all the money out, and we knew we were going to do it, but each year it seems like it gets colder earlier," she said.
Groce says the homeless in downtown Gainesville are in need of jackets and blankets.
"Blankets, old new, mittens, gloves, hats," she said.
Groce says it's up to the community to work together and help those in need.
"There are people who are going to take and continue to take, but there's still a need, and if you have something and you can give it, give it," she said.
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