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Addressing increase in homelessness on Leon Co. Commission agenda for April

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Residents in Tallahassee are raising concerns about the homeless population along North Monroe Street.

County leaders tell WCTV, it’s been growing for years and addressing the issue is a top priority.

Some Tallahassee residents say they’ve seen an uptick.

“Whether they are sleeping on the tables or they are walking around. Typically, they’ll speak to you or they might ask you to look at their artwork, something to that nature but otherwise they kind of stay to themselves,” said Kotrish Wright.

One Tallahassee woman who lives off North Monroe is raising concerns, however wished not to go on camera.

She shared an email with WCTV that she sent to the city saying some homeless people are coming into neighborhoods around North Monroe and John Knox.

In the email, she says she saw homeless people on her street rummaging through garbage and opening mailboxes.

In the area, our cameras met Kelvin Herring, who says many homeless people are harmless and are simply looking for a place to go.

“But in the same token you see people out here, homeless. They got signs up saying they’ll do anything for work, give them the benefit of the doubt,” said Herring.

He says he feels like local leaders and residents are forgetting that the homeless are people too.

“You say you are going to do this; you say you’re going to do that. ‘Well, we going to help the homeless the best that we can.’ Ok. If you are going to do that, open up some shelters, open up all these abandoned buildings running around here, all down Monroe, all up Tennessee, Apalachee. Come on. Y’all don’t care,” said Herring.

Some Kearney Center clients have been staying at motels in the area during the pandemic.

But Leon County Commission Chairman, Rick Minor, says problems along that stretch predate that.

Minor says the issue is on the county agenda for April.

“Where we can take a look at the short-term issues in north Monroe, the crime, the homelessness. As well as a long-term issues such as, what can we do to eliminate blight and bring more investment into North Monroe,” said Minor.

Minor adds that he believes some homeless are being preyed upon by criminals coming into this area.

He hopes the county can address ways to find permanent, stable housing for the homeless.

We did reach out to the Kearney Center, however they declined to comment.

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