ORLANDO, Fla. – A local coalition fighting homelessness in Central Florida is preparing more resources as Gov. Ron DeSantis' order to pause evictions will expire this week.
DeSantis' order on certain real estate evictions lifts Thursday, meaning more people could potentially face homelessness.
“The prospect of many, many people being evicted at that point is high,” Allison Krall, President, and CEO for Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida said, adding they’re already experiencing an uptick in the people they serve since the pandemic broke out. “We’ve got more than 40% of the folks who are walking through our doors right this moment have never been homeless before.”
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According to the coalition, with those potential evictions, shelters like theirs will be in high demand.
“Shelter beds are at a premium. There aren’t enough of them for all of the homeless folks in the community,” Krall said.
Krall added the increase in people who have sought shelter with the coalition is also increasing the need for more food and essential products, bringing up the organization’s expenses by about 10%.
“The financial implications have been significant. We’re about $11,000 higher a week than we were before the pandemic in costs,” Krall said.
The organization provides shelter, meals and other services for up to 500 homeless residents a day and for those who are just looking for a warm meal.
“We are seeing more folks from the community who are in need of a nightly meal, as well as not having volunteers on site has definitely generated an increase in cost,” Krall said.
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Krall said it’s not just about helping those who find themselves homeless stay afloat, they’re also focused on helping them find permanent housing.
“We’ve got our housing counselors on-site that work with every single client that comes through the door to help them to leave us as quickly as possible,” Krall said. “Homelessness is a trauma in the life of a person and so the limited amount of time that they remain homeless then the better.”
According to the coalition, more than 98% of their guests are Central Floridians. Currently, they’re housing almost 80 children ages 18 and under, including infants who receive daycare services. They also provide resources for about 25 children who need a place to connect for online schooling.
“The biggest thing that we need right this moment are donations. As a community, this is really a big deal,” Krall said.
If you would like to donate non-perishable food or a financial donation, click here.
At the moment, the coalition is taking in individual volunteers but not group volunteers. The organization is also in need of hygiene products and PPE.