The Changing Face of Homelessness

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The foreclosure crisis is forcing families onto the street and changing the makeup of the state’s homeless population. Florida is receiving 65 million stimulus dollars to help combat the problem.

Part of the money will be used to keep families from being kicked out of their homes. Anicia Zaprata, A.K.A. Mama Bear, has been living on the streets for a full year. In that time she’s seen the shelter she calls home grow past capacity.

“It’s really overly crowded.”

Mama Bear says more families with kids are moving in.

“There are five families with three kids and two kids, girls are pregnant who are getting kicked out.”

During a one day count this summer, Florida homeless shelters reported 58,000 people using their services. While the number is slightly down from a year ago, the population has changed significantly.

The foreclosure crisis is forcing more and more families out of their homes and onto the streets. The state is receiving 65 million stimulus dollars to provide food and shelter for people who have nowhere else to turn.

Tom Pierce is with the Office of Homelessness. He says some of the money will go toward keeping people in their homes.

“It’s targeted to those renters who are behind in rent, to try and keep them from becoming evicted. Lets get in there and provide them some short term rent subsidies based on back rent bills so they can stay in their apartment and not hit our streets.”

The state is also giving $5 million to 13 charities across the state to help build free and low rent housing for more than 500 people. Money to help families facing eviction will begin flowing October 1st.

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