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Issues and Voices that Matter May 27, 2010

On Being…Homeless in Seminole County, part-2: The People

Part 2: On Being...Homeless in Seminole County -- The People

Meet 3 local homeless men in an undisclosed camp in Seminole County, Fl. Accompanied by outreach specialists known as the HOPE Team of Sanford, hear these men’s perspective on being homeless. We’ll talk with the head of HOPE’s outreach initiative as she toils to offer pride and hope to the homeless. Feature length – 50:12


(Produced, reported and edited by Stephen McKenney Steck)
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The recession faced by any community is making the dilemma of homelessness more pronounced…and Seminole County Florida is no different. Central Florida Matters’ feature — On Being…– is addressing the homeless issue in a three part series we title On Being …Homeless in Seminole County.

This is part-2 of this series, subtitled “the People”

Part one – the “Problem and the Players” is also on the web site here. It defines the “problem” and identifies some of the local “players servicing the homeless in Seminole County

Part three will launch on-line several weeks from now. It will address the “Possibilities” of better serving the homeless or even lowering the number of homeless.

But, here, in part 2 we meet 3 local homeless people in their ramshackled, undisclosed and unlawful camps in Seminole County. We accompany a team of 2 outreach specialists who daily bring hope and advice to our trio well as more than 200 other similar clients, and we talk with the head of that local outreach initiative as she toils with a mixture of business skill and compassion to offer pride and hope for those homeless and un-housed.

The voices the 3 local people who have direct experience “on being homeless in Seminole County are Ricky, David and Dale who producer/reporter Stephen McKenney Steck interviewed in their camp to which he was escorted by outreach specialists from the Sanford Hope Team – Steve “Rocky” Cook and Doug Little.

HOPE is an acronym for Homeless Outreach Partnership Effort. HOPE operates this outreach with specific goals and outcomes under Seminole Behavioral Healthcare. It is funded by a $75,000 one year grant from the Central Florida Homeless Services Network via the federal Housing and Urban Development department. Seminole Behavioral Healthcare adds to that grant with $19,000 in matching funds.

On the day of our visit, the HOPE team was within a week of celebrating their first anniversary and has secured a second year of funding for this local homeless outreach initiative of which only one or two others exist – in South Florida.

Our HOPE Team had previously gained individual permission from Ricky, David and Dale for my interview… We didn’t rudely barge in to their camp unannounced. There were no conditions placed on Steck or these interviews and all agreed to still photos and name identification.

After Steck’s interview with Ricky, David and Dale, he assesses their responses and his reactions with the HOPE Team members and he talks with their supervisor and project outreach manager, Karen Harmon.

Extended Interview & Pictures

Click on the picture(s) to enlarge.
Karen Harmon, MSW, Housing Coordinator, Seminole Behavioral Healthcare (photo - CMF Public Media)
Karen Harmon and Stephen McKenney Steck
Extended interview (40:20)

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Steve "Rocky" Cook, Outreach Specialist, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Doug Little, Outreach Specialist, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Sanford HOPE Team van logo (photo - CMF Public Media) Seminole Behavioral Healthcare marquee in Sanford, Florida (photo - CMF Public Media)
Steve "Rocky" Cook (left) and Doug Little, Outreach Specialists, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Steve "Rocky" Cook, Outreach Specialist, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Doug Little, Outreach Specialist, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Camp "decorations." (photo - CMF Public Media)
The produce van "home" of Dale, Ricky and David (photo - CMF Public Media) Interior of Dale's home -- a produce van (photo - CMF Public Media) Dale seated at right on edge of his bed. Interior of home in background with another bed on left and one raised on real wall (photo - CMF Public Media) Dale at left, produce van home in background (photo - CMF Public Media)
Dale at right, produce van home in background (photo - CMF Public Media) Dale at far left at his home (a produce van) in the woods (photo -  CMF Public Media) From left: Ricky, David and Dale as seated for the interview (photo -  CMF Public Media) From left: David, Dale and Ricky (photo -  CMF Public Media)
Thick woods surrounding Dale's camp. Steve "Rocky" Cook (left) and Doug Little, Outreach Specialists, Sanford HOPE Team (photo - CMF Public Media) Karen Harmon, MSW, Housing Coordinator, Seminole Behavioral Healthcare (photo - CMF Public Media) Karen Harmon, MSW, Housing Coordinator, Seminole Behavioral Healthcare (photo - CMF Public Media)

Informative web links on issues related to homelessness

Links to features produced by CMF Public Media addressing issues related to homelessness

One Response to “On Being…Homeless in Seminole County, part-2: The People”

  1. Rich Steck says:

    Seems like there are those you can help and those you can’t. What a Solomon-like effort it must be for care givers to decide who gets help when all deserve it.

    This segment provides a badly-needed stimulus to those of us who thought that a shower, some food and a roof was all it took to begin the journey from homeless back to homed. Would that it were that simple.

    Thanks for the insight. Look forward to part three.

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