TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — David Van Willaims, who lives in Tallahassee, believes that key issues like gun violence and homelessness are linked to poverty.
When it comes to the November elections, he says he's only voting for candidates that address poverty and the problems that come with it.
"A person that's running for office here in Tallahassee and Leon County they should have a plan on how they're going to address poverty, which will lead to a reduction in crime and violence," said Van Williams. "It's that simple."
According to 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data, about 17% of people living in Leon County are experiencing poverty, the U.S. average according to 2020 data was 11 percent.
Van Wilson believes when people are experiencing poverty, they look for other means of income, often illegal, leading to violent crimes.
Since the beginning of the year, the Tallahassee Police Department investigated 101 total shooting incidents, 35 with injury and eigh resulting in death.
Also linking to poverty, food insecurity is another issue that FAMU Adjunct Professor Dr. P. Qasmiah Boston says needs addressing in Leon County.
"When you're at the poverty level, you have problems you have challenges purchasing quality and quantity foods, so people are having challenges with that," said Dr. Boston.
According to 2019 Feeding America data, over 39,000 people in Leon County were food insecure or 12.7% of the population didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Professor Boston says voters should be asking this question to candidates this election cycle.
"How do the candidates see folks being able to adjust to the rising cost of food, the rising cost of good food in our communities," Dr. Boston.