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Census Data Show Increase in Central Florida Homeless

A homeless encampment in Daytona Beach. Photo: Renata Sago.
A homeless encampment in Daytona Beach. Photo: Renata Sago.

A new report shows the number of homeless people in central Florida increased by 29 percent in the past year. The data from the annual point-in-time count taken in January shows more than 2,000 people were living on the streets; from disabled veterans and single mothers to children under 18 years old.

The figures show an increase despite a massive push between local officials and advocacy groups to tackle the issue.

“This year, more than other years, we actually know who these people are. We know their names. We know where they are. We can find them or include them in the count," said Martha Are, director of the Homeless Services Network.

She called the rising number of homeless an indication that advocacy groups now have more resources to locate homeless people they could not.

Are added that people are now more open to identifying themselves as homeless because the work being done to tackle the issue is now more visible.

According to the report, 555 homeless people were housed in 2016, which is a sharp increase from the year before.

Are added that the biggest obstacle for advocacy groups is to find affordable units for individuals and families operated by landlords who are willing to work with formerly homeless tenants.

In central Florida 62% of homeless population are men; while 38% are women. More than 22% are children under the age of 18.