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A New Home For Downtown Orlando’s Homeless

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File Photo: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (center) were among those who cut the ribbon at the Coalition for the Homeless's new downtown Orlando facility.

Single men are often the most visible part of the homeless population- but Orlando city leaders are hoping a new shelter will help reduce the numbers on the streets.

The new Men’s Service Center in downtown Orlando held a ribbon-cutting ceremony January 28.

With a blast of confetti, officials cut the ribbon on the two-story, 250-bed facility. It’s not just a place to sleep.

Homeless men can get job training, health care referrals, substance abuse help and more. Coalition for the Homeless CEO Brent Trotter said the services are geared toward a population that is often viewed with contempt.

“Men have an ego that they can do it on their own,” Trotter said. “And sometimes there’s not a lot of that humility to say you know what, I do need help. Sometimes they have to hit rock bottom. I had a gentleman tell me the other day I’ve hit whatever step is below rock bottom and I need help.”

The chronically homeless cost taxpayers on average $32,000 per year in criminal justice and health care costs. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city plans to put 300 of them into a permanent housing.

The average wait time to get into the center is four weeks. Sidney Hemmings is one of the eighty men to go through the service center and into permanent housing.

“And I would say to all the fellas at the Men’ Service Center that if I can do it, you can do it too,” Hemmings said.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »