Have you walked through Stranahan Park lately -- or ever? It's a nice place. But with throngs of homeless people living there, it's also a reminder that Broward County has a significant problem: About a quarter of the 3,225 homeless people in the county did not have a bed at a shelter when the last analysis took place in 2009, and officials expect an increase when updated data are released this year.
In this week's cover story
, we addressed the issue of homelessness in Broward County and brought you inside the Homeless Voice shelter in Hollywood, an unconventional facility because it is privately funded and has much looser rules than government-funded shelters. The recession has increased the number of homeless people in our area, and the deluge on the current system is more than it can handle.
Stranahan Park has become an unavoidable talking point when this issue of homelessness
is addressed in Fort Lauderdale. Downtown businesses complain about the
presence of homeless people there while charities provide meals in the
park, giving people reason to stay. To ease the problem, Fort Lauderdale
Mayor Jack Seiler is working to establish two feeding centers, one
north of the New River and one south. This project was covered last
week in the Sun-Sentinel,
and it has been an ongoing discussion among city officials
for years. Each time a location is proposed, the neighborhood opposes
caught up with homeless advocate Laura Hansen of the Broward County Coalition to End Homelessness to hear her perspective on the issue.
What does your organization provide?
On a community level, we do education, we do advocacy, we
work with the representatives and the senators in Florida and in D.C. to
try and create awareness for the issue and what might be a better way
of handling the issue.
Give us an o