Homelessness is on the rise in the capital city. Researchers say thousands of people are on the streets this holiday season. The problem is raising eyebrows among top city leaders.
On the streets of Tallahassee you'll find mothers trying to feed their babies, college graduates looking for work and weathered individuals who've lost all hope.
Homelessness abounds in the capital city and contrary to some public perceptions, many of these people are trying to be self sufficient.
Wendy Crook, an FSU researcher and professor, says, “One thing we see is a lot of homeless people are working, almost 15 percent are full-time.”
That same study shows structural barriers keep pulling the homeless down, barriers like job losses and rising housing and health care costs.
Mayor John Marks says, “We're not alone in this; we have to make sure we have shelter and support for people less fortunate.”
That's why the mayor is appointing a task force to end chronic homelessness. The agenda is part of a national 10-year plan to get Americans off the streets and into affordable housing.
Philip Mangano of the U.S. Council on Homelessness says, “There's no question Florida is positioned as well as any state to not only respond to homelessness, but to bring it to an end.”
Bringing it to an end takes time, money and resources, something both the mayor and his council say they are committed to.
Mayor Marks says the Big Bend Area Task Force is in its beginning stage. Once the team is selected he says they'll have six months to come up with a plan to help abolish homelessness in Tallahassee.