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Leon County Commissioners receive update on work done to help poverty in 32304 zip code

Posted at 8:37 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 20:37:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The 32304 Zip Code is one of the poorest in the state.

According to data from Tallahassee Community College, nearly 24,000 people there are living below the poverty line.

That's 56% of the people who live in this community. Out of that nearly 24,000, about 49% are children.

While those numbers are not new, they are still tough to see that families in Tallahassee are not able to meet some of their most basic needs.

The county and city have worked together on the Neighborhood First Program. It's designed to partner with people living in the impacted communities.

The Neighborhood First Program aims to develop plans to improve the social and economic outlook of the neighborhoods within 32304. It links Bond, Frenchtown, Griffin Heights, and soon Providence community members with county and city workers.

Beverly Williams is the Co-Chair of the Frenchtown Neighborhood First Plan. She says when she reaches out to her neighbors, their needs are loud and clear.

"What comes up repeatedly is housing and rehabilitation, and economic development, health and residential empowerment and neighborhood safety and crime prevention. So those are the areas that we're primarily looking at," she said.

In November, County Commissioners tasked their team to bring back programs that are working.

One program aimed at helping the community is the Library of Things.

Pamela Munroe runs the program. The library is now not just a place to check out books. The Library of Things also offers power tools, gardening tools, WiFi Hotspots, and more.

"A big part of it is sustainability and financial responsibility. Let's face it. Not everyone wants to purchase a pressure washer," said Munroe.

The library is also equipped with recreational items like sporting goods, music equipment, and family fun games.

"We were trying to look at children and what they may like as well."

Another program highlighted; more mental health access in Frenchtown and Griffin Heights.

"Mental health has always been there, and the advent of COVID pandemic just proliferated it, the need and our ability to sufficiently address those needs have been drastically reduced because of the you know, the burden on the system, because everybody has been negatively impacted," said Williams.

The county commission pledged $10,000 to launch the Behavioral Health Navigator.

Through the Mental Health Council and Black Men's Health organization, a series of outreach events will be held within the next couple of months to train barbers and hairstylists to properly assess mental health.

Food insecurity is highest in 32304 in the county. Now Second Harvest of the Big Bend is working on going into the community to identify what is aiding to food insecurity and how they can help.