Press Release: City of Tallahassee
There are more than 550 homeless children in Tallahassee. Changing that is simple.
That is the message that was shared today by a coalition of city, business, religious and educational leaders. They gathered in support of Change for Change, a program that allows City utility customers to make a monthly contribution on their utility bill that goes directly to address homelessness.
Nearly a decade ago, a passionate group of Tallahassee citizens, known as the Tallahassee Equality Action Ministry (TEAM), brought a recommendation to the Tallahassee City Commission. Their recommendation would allow citizens to help address homelessness in the community by making a monthly contribution on their City utility bill.
Change for Change was adopted by the Commission in 2004 and currently generates an estimated $60,000 a year to help address homelessness. Currently, only about two percent of utility customers contribute to the program.
While the funding for Change for Change has remained fairly consistent over the years, the number of families and individuals facing homelessness in the community has continued to grow. According to the 2012 Homeless Management Information System report from the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, 20 percent of the homeless individuals in the community are children.
Today through the end of May, area businesses, schools, religious organizations and service providers will be working to double the number of people contributing to Change for Change.
WCOT, the City’s local government access station on channel 13, interviewed children at HOPE Community, a transitional housing program for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, about what they miss most about having a home. Some of their responses are captured in this 60 second Public Service Announcement. The City is sharing this PSA with the community to raise awareness about the impact that homelessness is having on children in Tallahassee.
“When you see young children missing the basic things all children appreciate, like having a meal with their family, being able to play in their own backyard or sleep in their own bed, it makes you stop and say, ‘No child should have to live like that in our city.’” said City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, lead commissioner on the Quality of Life Target Issue Committee. “This campaign is a way for us to directly help these children.”
You can join Change for Change today by completing the form included in your April City utility bill, visiting Talgov.com or by calling Your Own Utilities at 891-4YOU (4968). The money collected goes directly to service providers who work to help prevent and address homelessness in Tallahassee. To learn more about Change for Change, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on Talgov.com for additional information.