Homelessness Declining In Leon County

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Work is well under way for the new homeless shelter on West Pensacola in Tallahassee.

The facility will not only provide beds and food, there will be other services available.

"We do have all the permits, construction has started, the site has been cleared," said Shelter Board Member Buddy Holshouser.

As the constuction moves forward, new numbers show homelessness is declining in Leon County.

In 2012, there were 738 homeless.

In 2013, that number spiked to 974.

But new 2014 numbers show a drop to 813 homeless.

"A lot of folks have been homeless because of lack of employment and income and now we're seeing more people getting jobs, more people getting full time jobs which is important," said Big Bend Homeless Coalition Director Susan Porciau.

A closer look inside the numbers show 20 percent of Leon County's current homeless are domestic violence survivors.

More than a quarter, 26 percent, have a college degree or some college.

And 58 percent are African Amercian.

It prompted Gil Ziffer to note a meeting for 15 new board members of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition had only white people.

However, 21 more members will be chosen and diversity is expected to be a factor.

"And I think we have a good opportunity and responsibility to consider that," said Pourciau.

The ultimate goal of the new board is to bring all parts of the community together to address the issue of homelessness.

"You know how the economy goes, it's up, it's down, so there will always be a need for a shelter of some sort," said Holshouser.

The new shelter is expected to open in either December or January.


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