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City, County commissioners work to prevent homelessness during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 7:18 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 19:20:52-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Both city and county leaders are working towards a solution for homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Tallahassee leaders moved forward with a landlord risk mitigation plan Tuesday, with the goal of helping renters who may be struggling due to the pandemic.

"We know that some folks have already received direct assistance, and it's gotten them on their way, but others are still needing more, and certainly people can benefit from more time," said Abena Otejayo, Director of Housing & Community Resilience for the City of Tallahassee.

The plan would make it easier for landlords to work with tenants as they move toward financial stability.

"And so what our legal partners are already doing with counseling and education, I think, with counseling, can be further enhanced by having access to a fund like this to help with mediation to help with negotiations and so forth," said Otejayo.

The plan comes with a $250,000 price tag, in addition to diversion programs already in place to help find other creative solutions for the nearly 470 people in the city already battling homelessness.

"Diversion is basically, as someone comes in requesting emergency shelter, taking a moment instead of bringing them into the shelter to stop and sit down with them and evaluate okay, are there other resources," said Kayla Towle, Intake and Diversion Manager.

Leon County leaders are also looking to create more affordable housing at the Orange Avenue Apartments.

City leaders said the growing housing concerns are more than they and county leaders will likely be able to handle on their own, and they look forward to additional federal funding.