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Orange County mayor releases family homelessness report

44,000 people homeless in county, report shows

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mayor Teresa Jacobs on Tuesday released a full report on family homelessness in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

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[READ: Homelessness report ]

The report, "The Current State of Family Homelessness in Central Florida," includes new data on family homelessness in Central Florida, as well as the local housing market.

The report found that there are 44,000 homeless people living in Central Florida. One in 50 families and one out of every 17 children are homeless, the report said.

"I don't think any of us can look back on our childhood memories and not remember sometime when we were embarrassed when we went to school for something," Jacobs said. "We had the wrong food in our lunchbox, we have the wrong tennis shoes, we didn't feel like we fit in."

She challenged people to imagine being a homeless child and how they might feel in school.

"How do these people survive? I don't understand," asked Oscar Ortega, who just moved to Orlando from New York. "I've done this for two months now, and I don't see how I'm going to hold on here."

Ortega works as a contracted construction worker for the Ultimate I-4 Project. He said he still doesn't make enough money to afford an apartment.

The year-long look at people without homes stopped short of offering any suggestions on how to solve the problem. Instead, one of the directors of the study suggested looking at cities that have begun trying to conquer the problem.

Jacobs and several of the study authors plan to travel to Salt Lake City later this week to see how that city and the state of Utah have decreased their homeless numbers through integrated programs and funding.


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