homeless

Law enforcement has been cracking down on corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry. State and federal officials have arrested more than 30 people for running scams in rehab centers or sober homes in the past year.

But the facilities are often filled with recovering drug users from out-of-state. And when the homes shut down, the residents frequently wind up on the street.

On May 19, Fort Lauderdale police officers and city workers showed up without notice at Stranahan Park with dozens of blue trash bins, a front-end loader and a dump truck. They ordered all the homeless living there to put their stuff in the bins; the rest of the stuff was scooped up by the loader and thrown in the dump truck.

Wikimedia Commons

A Florida city called state health inspectors on itself to report rats in a downtown park so it could evict homeless people living there.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/2rGeJFI ) that Fort Lauderdale called the state health department last month to report rats in city-owned Stranahan Park.

A state health inspector cited the city and gave it 30 days to clean the park. Using that citation, Fort Lauderdale ordered 60 people from the park and threw away any belongings that went unclaimed.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.


Homelessness is on the decline across the United States. In Florida, the homeless population decreased at a record rate in the last year, with more than 2,300 homeless Floridians moving into shelter in 2016. Invisible among these encouraging numbers, however, are the growing number of homeless teenagers in the state.

Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health News

A Tampa charity is distributing insect repellent and mosquito nets to the homeless to help protect them from mosquito bites.

A proposed “Tiny House” community for low income people is a step closer to becoming reality, despite pushback from nearby residents. The issue has been mired in controversy over whether the proposed location is suitable for the project.

Communities across the country are implementing a 'Housing First' model as a new approach to fight homelessness. Some local officials want to bring the program to Leon County.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida’s Sarasota Chapter sued the city and its police department recently. The suit is on behalf of six homeless men. It alleges local ordinances discriminate against the homeless. 

WMFE

A Central Florida public defender called for an end to arrests for being broke. And the chief judge agrees the program needs to be evaluated, but for different reasons.

Orange and Osceola County Public Defender Bob Wesley is asking the chief judge to create a commission investigating court costs, fines and collection practices.

Wesley said that Tuesday morning alone, five people were arrested and brought before the court for unpaid fines – all with mental health issues.

When it comes to children, the definition of homeless includes more children than you may think.

Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act children and youth who "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless." That means children who are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds -- or doubled-up with relatives or friends  --are homeless, as well as those who stay in shelters, on the street or in abandoned buildings.

http://www.miamihomeless.org/

It's just after 8 a.m., and Lazaro Trueba and Ivan Romero are driving around downtown with a pack of Clipper cigars and a stash of psychotropic pills in search of "Bigfoot."

At around 6-foot-6, he's hard to miss. But after two decades living on the streets and struggling with mental illness, Jesse, the man they've lovingly nicknamed after the mythical Sasquatch, has a penchant for both walking long distances and disappearing. And finding him is important, because like their other clients he needs his medication.

Four people are being charged with Medicaid fraud for allegedly recruiting homeless people to pose as patients.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrests on Friday.

Bondi's office alleged that the owner of an Orlando clinic and three of her associates would offer gas cards and temporary housing to homeless men and women who then posed as patients.

Staff and volunteers from Camillus Health treat members of South Florida’s homeless population by going out to the streets after clinic hours to find those who refuse both shelter and traditional medical attention.   The team, mostly nurses, are identifiable by their blue scrubs. When their van pulls up, homeless people come out of the shadows to seek services, according to a Miami Herald reporter who accompanied them one night.

Legal restrictions on where registered sex offenders can live often lead to homelessness, but Miracle Village offers an alternative. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports,100 men live in the community run by a Christian ministry. Things run so smoothly that TV crews hoping for a salacious reality show found out there was nothing “controversial” to air.  

Tampa Bay Times

In a tour de force of multimedia reporting, John Woodrow Cox of the Tampa Bay Times describes the scene, hour by hour, at Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg.