Landlord summit to fight homelessness

MAITLAND, Fla. – The push to end veteran homelessness in Central Florida continued Wednesday as leaders in Orange and Seminole counties and the Commission on Homelessness met with property owners for the first-ever "landlord summit."

About 100 landlords in Central Florida got together at the Sheridan Hotel in Maitland to hear from housing officials about the benefits of providing their homes to the homeless who come with financial and emotional support.

"You know that saying, therefore the grace of God go with thy, truly? You can relate to people who are just one step form homelessness. A lot of people are and it feels good at the end of the day to really help somebody lay their head," said Kristin Sibley.

Sibley and her sister own several homes between Sanford and Orlando. They already have homeless tenants but many come to stay for only a week at a time, the longest they can come up with the cash for.

"People come in the rooms and they cry. People who have been living on the street, living in the woods, they tell me the woods are crowded," said Sibley.

Sibley and the other 100 landlords who attended the summit in Maitland Wednesday are interested in being a part of the mission to end veteran homelessness in Central Florida by the end of the year.

"We've identified the veterans, we have the resources to do it now we need to make sure we have the housing units to do it and that might be the most difficult piece of the whole thing," said Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer.

The mayor said seeing the the amount of landlords at the summit today, gave him hope, though. Following a breakfast and many speakers, the property owners attended workshops where they were given the tools they need to get in touch with the proper agencies to obtain homeless tenants.

"As much as we want to find housing for veterans, the disabled, families in need, without landlords who will give people a second chance, it's really not possible. So to see 100 plus landlords and another 100 advocates come together today, it's really exciting," said Andrae Bailey, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.

The first of its kind, organizers say the summit will become an annual event.