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Family Promise gets millions to address homelessness

Posted at 7:37 PM, Jun 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-21 19:37:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — New funding is helping families facing homelessness find a safe place to go. The money coming from a $22 million investment to tackle the growing homeless population in the Florida.

One local organization receiving money is the Family Promise of the Big Bend. The organization receiving almost 3 million dollars to help people in the Big Bend.

President of the board for the Family Promise Dr. Shamarial Roberson said the group will use this money to provide what she says are much needed renovations to their transitional housing HOPE Community.

Roberson said this will help them be able to accommodate as many people who need shelter as possible.

"The needs are consistent. Our population is growing," Roberson said. "We do have a waiting list, but we are very optimistic that with this additional funding that we can serve families and optimize the capacity while working toward building and increasing our capacity."

Dr. Shamarial Roberson said the HOPE community transitional housing shelter has a waiting list of over fifty families that can take up to six weeks.

She said $2.9 million awarded by the state will help people get off of this list and into shelter quicker.

"We want to make sure that they not only have a place to stay, but that it is a place that feels like home," Roberson said. "It is their home."

The funding coming from the budget Governor Ron DeSantis just signed, which includes $22 million to address homelessness in the state.

"This means everything to the Family Promise of the Big Bend," Roberson said.

According to the Big Bend Continuum of Care, there are over 800 people experiencing homelessness in the Big Bend.

Along with the state, the Leon County government is trying to lower that number in their own community.

Leon County Commissioners and staff have set aside over $4 million in their budget to address homelessness, specifically funding more day services for shelters, homeless outreach and legal assistance with evictions.

Something Commissioner Bill Proctor said is one of the most important parts of the budget.

"We are willing to share a focus on people and in particular, the efforts of those who are in struggle, who are mired in survival," Proctor said. "We are trying to make sure that we leave no citizen behind."

Roberson said the Family Promise will ask those they serve how to best use this money for the facility.

"We will work with the community at HOPE to make sure all of those plans are implemented in a way that's conducive to family living here at Hope," Roberson said.

Roberson said renovations will begin once they work out a contract agreement with the state on how to use the funding.