TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In 2020, more than 600 families were reported homeless in the Big Bend Homelessness Point In Time Count.
Executive Director Sylvie Smith Big Bend Homeless Coalition said with the pandemic, the rate is increasing.
That's why her nonprofit is there to assist families.
"They come in their hungry. They're dehydrated and usually slept deprived," Smith said.
The nonprofit provides emergency shelter and housing for about 350 people a year.
Smith said they help families with essentials like food, clothing and a safe place to sleep.
"We provide case management that is housing focused, and it's designed from when they arrive at the shelter to help them map out permanent housing," Smith said.
A big part of getting homes for these families is helping provide stability for their children.
On average, Smith said, about 70% of the people that need their help are under the age of 18.
"It is often the future really depends on how we help children today," Smith said.
She said the work her nonprofit is doing is more important now then ever because the economic hardship from the pandemic is only getting worse.
"The rate of eviction and the rate of housing instability is no where near it's peak, so we're very considered about the needs of families going forward," Smith said.
Big Bend Homeless Coalition kicks off 15 Years of HOPE campaign.
Their goal is to raise 150-thousand dollars is for programming, services, maintenance and renovations.