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Homelessness in Our Community
On any given day in Florida, approximately 58,000 people are estimated to be living in shelters, on the streets or in places not meant for human habitation (DCF Office on Homelessness, 2009). Based on the results of The Big Bend Homeless Coalition’s 2009 Point-in-Time Count and Survey, 741 people are estimated to be homeless in Tallahassee on any given day. Of those people:

  • 283 were children (38%)
  • 458 were adults (62%)
  • 21% of survey respondents met the definition of chronically homeless
  • 22% of survey respondents were veterans
  • 47% had one or more disabling conditions; the most commonly reported condition was a physical disability

Over the course of one year it is estimated that 3,000 - 4,000 children and adults in the Big Bend will experience what it is like to be without a home.

The causes of homelessness include:
  1. Lack of affordable housing and other housing related issues such as eviction, foreclosure, or the end of a temporary living arrangement. Locally, this is one of the top three reasons people are homeless.
  2. Lack of adequate income, unemployment/underemployment, or other financial reasons. Locally, “unemployment or underemployment” is also one of the top three reasons people reported that they were homeless in our most recent homeless census. “Not enough income to make ends meet” is also among the primary reasons people report they became homeless.
  3. Lack of needed services and treatment. Family problems like divorce, separation or moving out to escape abuse are prevalent among women both with and without children. Physical or medical disabilities, mental or emotional problems, substance abuse or a mix of these, coupled with lack of services to treat these needs, are among the top reasons people become chronically homeless.

The populations of people who are experiencing homelessness in the eight-county Big Bend area have varying characteristics. They range in age, gender, educational levels, cause of homelessness, length of time being homeless, and number of homeless episodes. There is a common theme amongst the majority of people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness; the common theme is that they suffer from the systemic effects of poverty.