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Commissioners to consider new funding for homelessness intervention

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 11:48:08-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Homelessness is trending downward in Tallahassee and Leon County, and if some commissioners have their way, they'll dedicate more than a million dollars to drive down numbers even further.

According to recently released data from the Big Bend Continuum of Care, the total number of unsheltered people in Leon County and Tallahassee currently stands at 91. That's down from last year's total of 109. But, as Commissioner Rick Minor explains, approving the recommended board action to dedicate new funding for homelessness could further decrease that number over the next five years.

"The American Rescue Plan is giving us $6.2 million both for the city and the county. And so we have the ability to really strive for transformational change in how we deal with homelessness in this community," said Minor.

If approved, the County and City would partner with the Big Bend Continuum of Care to use $1.4 million for rapid rehousing, permanent support housing, and expanding coordinated street outreach.

"Prior to the pandemic, we did not have an adult street outreach team," said Leon County's Office of Human Services and Community Partnerships director Shington Lamy. "We do have some youth street outreach teams that are funded through some federal dollars that the COC received, but not for specifically adults."

They'd also focus efforts on combating chronic homelessness -- which occurs when a person does not secure housing for a year or more -- and on funneling more cash to the four homeless shelters already working towards their shared goals.

"We are committed, the county, and the city we are committed to addressing the needs of our most vulnerable and that is our homeless," said Lamy.

Tuesday's meeting begins at 9am in City Hall.