Homeless census reports a decrease in street-dwellers

By on February 27th, 2013

Arielle Rolle-Polk reported for WUFT-TV.

After a census of the homeless population last month, the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry reports the count decreased from last year.

In 2012, there were 1,107 people living on the streets of Gainesville. Now, in February 2013, the street count is a total of 987.

The director of the coalition, Theresa Lowe, expressed concern for accuracy regarding the surveying methods used this year. The coalition only spent one day surveying homeless people, instead of two days, which it did last year.

The coalition had homeless participants surveying alongside coalition volunteers for $10 an hour. Their familiarity with common homeless hangouts and tendencies aided the coalition in acquiring more accurate numbers.

“They know where to look,” said Lowe. She recalled a homeless volunteer following a trail into the woods she would have never thought to pursue.

The coalition reported 477 homeless school children, an increase from the 316 recorded in 2012. This number doesn’t include school-age parents or siblings who aren’t in school.

“Parents don’t particularly want to advertise that they’re homeless,” Lowe said, which makes it difficult to conclude the exact amount of school-age homeless people. Lowe estimates the number is closer to 1,500.

Of all homeless children in Gainesville, 21.5 percent have been in foster care.

“It’s probably a result of instability at a very early age,” Lowe said. “Once they age out, they have no place to go.”

Lowe said part of the coalition’s funding is contingent on the poll’s findings, and it helps to create more programs to assist local homeless. Moreover, the survey increases awareness of the local homeless residents.

“By giving them numbers it helps change the face of homelessness,” she said.

The final report, which will contain more in-depth statistics, is incomplete but will be released during the first week of March.

This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

More Stories in Local

For National Fire Prevention Week, area fire departments are stressing the importance of having working smoke alarms.

Local Fire Organizations Promote Fire Safety Awareness

National Fire Prevention Week started Oct. 4. Gainesville and Ocala organizations will join the promotion of the national theme, “Hear the beep where you sleep. Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm!”

Evanna Alvarez, 10, is spearheading a donation drive to keep the shelves of the Alachua County Humane Society filled with peanut butter for the dogs. They go through 15 jars of it each week.

Local Girl Scout Launches Peanut Butter Drive for Humane Society

Local Girl Scout Evanna Alvarez launched a GoFundMe campaign and donation drive to bring peanut butter to the Alachua County Humane Society. The Humane Society goes through 15 jars of peanut butter a week feeding dogs.

A group of dignitaries recently broke ground for the Cade Museum of Creativity and Innovation in Gainesville.

Cade Museum Groundbreaking Coincides with 50th Anniversary of Gatorade

The Cade Museum held its ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 2 and is scheduled to open in 2017. The museum will celebrate the legacy of Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade, in the 50th anniversary of the sports drink.

Thaddeus Bullard sits with homeless couple, Joe and Vivian Mulligan, as he listens to their story.

UF Hall Of Famer And WWE Superstar Feeds The Homeless

Former Gator great Thaddeus Bullard is completing his challenge of 3,000 volunteer hours to the Gator Nation. Along the way, he stopped by the St. Francis House house to help serve food and mingle with the crowd.

IFAS researchers have been involved in an experiment to uncover ways to create tastier and sturdier blueberries.

Florida Researchers Aim To Breed Better Blueberries

Researchers tested 19 different types of blueberries, which were ranked based on overall liking, texture, sweetness, sourness and flavor intensity to determine what type of blueberry people liked and which type would produce consistent results when grown in different environments.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments