Action Plan to Combat Homelessness

Community leaders say the number of people who are homeless and the length of time they are homeless are increasing.

The leaders say they are working to reverse that trend.

Members of Homeward Bound say realistically it may not be possible to completely end homelessness. But, idealistically, their vision is that everyone has a stable home.

Wednesday, they discussed their goals and five-year plan to try to make it happen.

Betty Sue Thomley just got a new cell phone from a local organization.

"I'm just nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs about it." She said.

It's assistance like that that those living in homelessness in Tallahassee say they appreciate.

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition conducted the "Point in Time" Survey back in January to count the number of homeless people in order to figure out how to better help them.

Thomley said, "It makes me feel good. I'm not, I don't feel like I'm on the bottom of the world no more. I'm slowly bobbing up, coming up."

The 2009 Point-in-time survey shows 741 men, women, and children were experiencing homelessness in Tallahassee.

The preliminary results from this year's survey show 683. But, local leaders say this does not include children in the school system as in previous years.

Tina Fisher is homeless. She said, "Help us to get a job, get a place to live and make sure medically, physically that we got a place that we can go, we got a job and we call it our own."

That's what community leaders are working on.

Homeward Bound revealed its action plan Wednesday. The goals include:

1. Increase the capacity of permanent supportive housing for people moving out of homelessness.
2. Create a centralized site to facilitate information and assistance, including intake, assessment, housing referrals, and supportive services.
3. Increase the capacity of mental health services and housing for people who are experiencing homelessness.
4. Increase the capacity of the Homelessness Continuum of Care (CoC) to access funding, and establish a systematic approach to planning and coordination.
5. Increase the capacity for homelessness prevention.
6. Engage the community in developing and implementing the above goals in ways that reflect the needs and concerns of community members, including neighborhoods, businesses, residents, the faith community, and others.

The council members say they're going to take it step-by-step; and if they meet their objective in five years, then they've done a good job.

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition is still finalizing the numbers from this year's Point-in-Time Survey, and say they expect to announce the results next week.

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