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Report: Homeless Vet Population in Central Florida Tumbles

Orlando Veterans Memorial Park. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Orlando Veterans Memorial Park. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

The number of homeless veterans in Central Florida has fallen dramatically in the last four years. According to a report released Wednesday, the number of homeless veterans in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties went from 690 to about 300.

Central Florida Commission on Homelessness CEO Andrae  Bailey said of those homeless,  about 100 are living ‘unsheltered’ or on the streets.

“And you’ve got to remember that when we did these same counts a few years ago, we were seeing four and five times as many numbers, so we’ve made great progress helping veterans,” he said.

Bailey said the solution is getting the homeless into permanent housing.

Over 1200 veterans have gotten into permanent housing in the last four years alone through the VA initiative in six counties. That’s historic, it’s never happened before, and it’s because [of] this housing first model,” said Bailey.

“It works in cities that have done it. It’s beginning to work here for veterans.”

The six counties include Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard and Volusia.

The VA says at the last count in 2014, 767  veterans were homeless in those counties. More than 500 were in shelters.


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »