Increasing homeless population in Panama City

Increasing homeless population in Panama City.
Increasing homeless population in Panama City.(Allison Baker)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 8:20 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Several organizations in Panama City are working to help the growing homeless population.

Yvonne Petrasovits, the Executive Director of Doorways for Northwest Florida, said they have noticed more people living on the streets.

“There really isn’t a lot of resources here for folks,” Petrasovits said. “What we try to do is focus on those people who have been in our community for a long time. As a matter of fact, we had 40 families in the past month that have become homeless for the first time.”

Over the last two months, Doorways has placed 71 families into homes.

“On the flip side of that we also have 160 folks that are listed as homeless for the same two months and 88 families, so we are looking at 300 people that are homeless currently,” Petrasovits said.

One major issue these families are facing in Bay County is the lack of shelters.

In November 2020 a fire damaged the Panama City Rescue Mission, men’s shelter. The president and CEO for the mission said the men’s shelter is a larger construction project than expected.

“The facility was in such disrepair over the years and then the hurricane on top of that that we literally had to rebuild it from the walls in,” Stephen Fett, President and CEO of the Panama City Rescue Mission, said.

The rescue mission women’s shelter, however, is still open.

“We have some amazing strategic partnerships with Life Management and Doorways,” Fett said. “We constantly are getting people through those organizations that they help us out with.”

For those looking for help, Doorways can only serve people living in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties.

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