Osceola seeking answers for rise in homeless families

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January 23, 2014|By Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel

In the shadow of Walt Disney World, Osceola County has one of the highest rates of homeless families in the nation, and the problem continues to grow at an "astonishing" rate, officials told more than 300 community leaders Wednesday.

The number of homeless school-age children and parents rose by 54 percent to more than 5,000 in the past year alone, according to a new report commissioned by county government. Current programs aimed at helping those families get back on their feet have enough funding to help fewer than 10 percent of them.

"These families are not getting out of homelessness on their own," said Andrae Bailey, executive director of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, which co-hosted a conference on what Bailey called the "single largest social issue" facing Osceola County. "A lot of these families have working parents. The whole concept of 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' doesn't apply."

read more Near Disney World, number of homeless families soars - Orlando Sentinel
 

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