ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - One in 17 children in Central Florida will find themselves without a home at some point this year. That's only one of the staggering statistics Orange County leaders are pointing out, after a new study found just how much homelessness affects the community. "This study is honestly gut-wrenching to me because it shows that we have missed the mark. It shows that we can and have to do better,” said Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs at a press conference Tuesday.
The study by the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness focused on what causes families to end up on the street, despite the $11 million currently dedicated to the issue in the region. "There are people who look at homelessness as a blight, and I think people when they say that, they're talking about chronically homeless and there's some people that just wish it would go away,” Jacobs added, “They don't understand most of the people living on the streets are mentally disabled or physically disabled and they simply can't provide for themselves."
The commission outlined a six-point action plan to attack the issue, including increasing community awareness and providing more affordable rental housing options. But the commission isn't stopping there; Mayor Jacobs will lead a fact-finding mission to Salt Lake City, Utah to study and understand how programs there have successfully reduced family homelessness over the last decade.