In part-1 of a new feature titled “On Being…Homeless in Seminole County,” we talk with Cathy Jackson, executive director of the Homeless Services Network (HSN) of Central Florida. In a wide-ranging interview she defines the homeless problem in Seminole County and identifies other institutional players at work addressing the dilemma of homelessness. Feature length – 23:49
HSN is a major player in Central Florida helping to coordinate, manage, measure and partially fund a multitude of small and big service agencies in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties which daily grapple with aiding the homeless.
In Part-2 of the series (tentatively set to post on 5/27/10) we will feature voices from our homeless population and hear their stories. And in part-3 (to post on 6/17/10) we’ll learn about possible solutions to better serve our homeless.
In 2009, close to 2000 individuals in Seminole County experienced homelessness and, according to Jackson, on any given night in the county, there are 700 homeless people sleeping in more than 70 camps or in cars or vans, behind trash dumpsters, or doubled-up with other families in apartments. Shelter beds and transitional housing beds accommodate the remainder. Jackson notes the economy and the war abroad account for a local increase in homeless numbers for families and veterans. In Seminole County public schools 1,140 students were considered homeless as of April 2010. This is an increase from 600 just 2-years ago.
Jackson says that 30% of the homeless in Seminole have been such for more than 1 year; 25% from 3-months to a year. Fifty-three percent of the homeless are white. Thirty-five percent are African-American and 20% are military veterans. Thirty percent have a post-secondary education level.
Hear more of the problem in this interview with Cathy Jackson in part-one: The Problem and the Players.
Extended Interview & Pictures
Cathy Jackson and Stephen McKenney Steck
executive director, Homeless Services Network of Central Florida
Extended interview (1:14:37)
Additional Feature Information
Additional web links presented in the order addressed in the feature interview with Cathy Jackson:
- Homeless Services Network of Central Florida
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Families in Transition (Seminole County Public Schools)
- Seminole Behavioral Healthcare
- Rescue Outreach Mission
- Christian Sharing Center
- Safe House of Seminole County
- Recovery House of Central Florida
- Seminole County Government Community Services Division
- Pathways to Home
- 211 Community Resources and Referrals
- Heart of Florida United Way
Links to features produced by CMF Public Media addressing issues related to homelessness
- Homeless Students in Seminole County Florida
- Coping with the Economy In Seminole County: Health Clinic
- Coping with the Economy in Seminole County: Food Pantry
- Youth Substance Abuse in Seminole County, Florida
- Commentary: Bakari F. Burns, Chief Executive Officer, Health Care Center for the Homeless commenting on the steps necessary to achieve quality and affordable health care services for the homeless.
- Commentary: Rachael Todd, Miss Florida 2009 and a resident of Oviedo, Florida, commenting on why ending homelessness matters.
Other useful links
- The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act
- Central Florida area Community Coordinated Childcare
- Florida Department of Children and Families – Office on Homelessness
- Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness
- The Children’s Cabinet
- Boys Town of Central Florida
- Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
- Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando (Kids Konnect program)