Orange County Homelessness
Orange County has the most homeless people in Central Florida. Our homeless population includes vulnerable populations: veterans, families, children, LGBTQ+ youth, mentally ill, disabled, elderly, marginalized communities, to name a few.
Orange County is above the above national average with the number of veterans living on the streets and the number of homeless people with disabilities. Orange County has a serious issue with homeless children living in motels, shelters, and cars/vans/tents/parks.
When you walk the streets of Orange County, you see an increase in homeless people. Our nonprofit organizations work relentlessly to combat homelessness. CARES Act funding is used to help the growing number of Orange County homeless people. However, that money will expire in September. This will lead to increases in the number of people struggling to find housing.
The lack of affordable housing feeds our homeless crisis. Families are paying up to 50% of their income towards rent resulting in little money to cover food and gas price increases. This is not sustainable for our families and our homeless population will increase.
In 2018, the incumbant ran his mayoral campaign on a safer, more prosperous and stronger Orange County for all people. Two of his major focuses were homelessness and affordable housing. On March 22, 2022, the incumbant states, “We look at our homeless, a disproportionate number them are mentally ill, and they also have substance disorders, We have the plan, we have the report, and we’re now building the plan to address that, where there are gaps in those services.” Now, the incumbant is running a re-election campaign on similar campaign promises from 2018 regarding affordable housing and homelessness.
The current administration counts homeless people just once a year. By using a “Point in Time Count.” This means only the number of homeless people seen on that day are included in the homeless number. Unfortunately, those people/families that are staying in motels until their money runs out or staying at another’s house, or who are not seen when the counting is done are not included in the number of Orange County’s homeless population. In order to help homeless people we must have an accurate means of understanding the size of the population. We know that Jerry Demings Point in Time Count does not accurately assess the size of the population by the discrepancies between the amount of Orange County Public School students identified as homeless wich was approximately 9,676 (pre pandemic).
The incumbant is out of time. The people of Orange County, the homeless people who have no voice, the homeless children cannot wait to give the current mayor more time!
3 Contributing Factors to Homelessness in Orange County:
Lack of access to housing
Lack of employment opportunities that pay liveable wages
Lack of access to healthcare
Is this the look of an Orange County that is safer, more prosperous, and stronger for all of Orange County people? I beg to differ.
Definition of Homeless:
HUD defines homelessness as “…people living in a place that is not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided…People who are losing their primary nighttime residence, which may include a hotel/motel or a doubled up situation…and lack of resources or support networks to remain in housing….Families with children who are unstably housed and likely to continue in that state….People who are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence…”