ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – This Christmas weekend, Central Florida’s homeless community is expected to fill shelters due to frigid temperatures.
With lows dipping into the 20s, advocates said it will be unsafe to be outside for long periods of time.
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Several homeless organizations spent the past couple days coordinating logistics to increase capacity.
Donna Allen with Circle of Faith Ministry handed out food and other donations along Terry Avenue in the Parramore neighborhood Friday afternoon.
“We really don’t know how blessed we are that we can go home where it’s safe and warm,” Allen said. “People are struggling right now. They are going through it right now, and it’s a struggle, like you said, with rent and evictions and all of this going on for people”
The Homeless Services Network of Central Florida said that due to increased rental rates and apartments damaged during two recent hurricanes, the homeless rate in Orlando has soared.
On Thursday, officials announced plans to open an overflow facility at Barnette Park beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.
To ensure everyone has access to a shelter, Lynx is providing free rides to anyone going to a cold weather shelter.
“We do try to give as much as we can. That’s giving to the needy, that’s what we basically — it’s our goal,” Allen said. “Just to see a smile on a child’s face, even an adult face, just to see the smile on their face, especially when they get their plates. ‘Thank you.’ Just seeing the happiness, just seeing the joy.”
Updated shelter information can also be found by calling 211 and 311. For a list of shelters in Central Florida, click here.
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