ORLANDO, Fla. – Dozens of veterans, many who said they’re facing homelessness, came out Wednesday to a resource event in Orlando’s Parramore community that provided housing help, job workshops, medical assistance and so much more.
It was held at the Christian Service Center, hosted by CareerSource Central Florida to assist veterans.
“This is our opportunity to give back to those men and women who served their country,” said Ken Shields, veterans program manager for CareerSource Central Florida. “None of us forget that they exist, but they know that we exist. They know that resources are here for them when they need them.”
There were workshops and many vendors on hand to assist veterans with resources. Walt Disney World was even there conducting job interviews.
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With rising rents across Central Florida, U.S. Army veteran Robert Beauregad said he could use all of the help that he can receive.
“The price of rent is so high that it’s difficult to make ends meet at times,” Beauregad said.
Bruce Watkins is also an U.S. Army veteran and said the event was right on time for him, too.
“Finding out about some services I didn’t know about,” Watkins said. “Whoever set this up, this is a good program and we need more of it.”
According to the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, as of January of this year, there were 189 veterans who reported they were homeless across Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. That number is up 27% since last year, but the network told News 6 these stats are likely an undercount because, for many reasons, some veterans are reluctant to admit their homeless status.
“We are trying to create a safe space for people who are experiencing homelessness,” said Bryan Hampton, the director of development at the Christian Service Center.
Wednesday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said at his State of the City Address that he’s making homelessness a priority, including using part of a $58 million federal grant to transform the former Ambassador Motel on Colonial Drive into a soon-to-open set of apartments with affordable housing units.
City leaders have also created a 3-year action plan that includes expanding services at shelters and continued work to make the streets cleaner and safer for everyone.
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