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Osceola Leaders Exploring Homeless Shelter Options

Homelessness is being exacerbated by an affordable housing crisis in Ocala. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Osceola County doesn’t have a homeless shelter. Some community leaders hope to change that.

In Osceola County 3,272 school-aged children were considered homeless last school year. That figure does not include their parents or young children not enrolled in school. It does include people who are considered “precariously housed” such as those living in hotels, in their cars and families doubling up together.

Some community leaders are interested in opening up a shelter, but not one that just sees people and come and go. CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness Shelley Lauten says the old approach to shelters is not working.

“In fact it’s a very costly model because people come in and out without really getting their issues addressed or solved,” said Lauten.

Lauten and others are looking to existing shelters in and out of state that help people with an exit strategy to permanent housing. Lauten and Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry are planning a visit soon to one such model shelter in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Lauten said Osceola County is still very much in the “research phase” when it comes to a homeless shelter.


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About Crystal Chavez

Crystal Chavez

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