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Unsheltered population increases, the one way organizations say we can help our vulnerable neighbors

Posted at 7:03 AM, Nov 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-01 07:03:43-04
  • The number of people displaced from their homes is increasing in the city, say local organizations
  • The Kearney Center says the homelessness crisis is not going away any time soon
  • Watch the video to find out what local organizations think it will take to reconnect with our vulnerable neighbors


As the number one gateway into Tallahassee, many different people intersect on the North Monroe Corridor.

I'm finding out how as a community, we can become better citizens to support this vulnerable population.

Local organizations tell me what it will take to reconnect with this unprotected community.

It started with a comment on social media from one of my neighbors, Samantha Skrob-Martin.

She said while she has seen great efforts to support unsheltered people on North Monroe Street in Northwest Tallahassee.

She said stigma is a big issue.

When one negative thing happens it seems to generate unfair generalizations.

Skrob-Martin said it's important to make distinctions...

"Because not every single situation is the same," said Skrob-Martin.

It's a stigma that Sonya Wilson, Executive director of the The Kearney Center, is actively trying to confront.

"They're really, really good people. They need a second chance," said Wilson.

She said she does understand both sides but wants people to show compassion.

"When you have it on your front steps at night or in your back doors leading into your facilities people can be frightened and scared, not realizing that the people living behind your facility or on the front steps of your facility are just as scared," said Wilson.

Sonya said with the current economic climate, a lot of people are one step away from homelessness.

Her advice?

"Approach it with dignity and respect, not just immediately call the police department of the sheriff's department because that raises anxiety," said Wilson. "Just as the person what they need, how can we help you."

And Samantha Mankus, President of the FSU HOME Street Medicine, said that doesn't always mean relocating to the Kearney Center.

"You wouldn't feel comfortable leaving your home to go and live in a strange place," said Mankus. "You wouldn't know what would happen to your home, especially if it's not locked away."

That's why The Kearney Center and the HOME Street Medicine are focused on outreach.

Daniel Brown used to be houseless. He said trauma should inform how you approach a person.

"You don't know the person, and you can't judge a person until you know what their mental state is," said Brown. "Some people just can't be in a house, some people feel better outside, some people feel better being in a crowd of people like out here."

Organizations tell me current needs include hygiene kits and blankets, I will leave information about how to access The Kearney Center and the HOME Medicine program at If you want to share your thoughts with me, I'd love for this to be an open conversation. Email me, text me, or join my Northwest Tallahassee news Facebook page by searching the title on your screen.

Cell: 850-509-3271