Caring Politics

Number of homeless children continues to grow in Escambia, Santa Rosa and statewide

November 26, 2012

The Florida Department has released its annual report on the number of homeless children in our public school systems. The state of Florida had its largest jump in homeless children in the six years that state has tracked homelessness — 30 percent from 49,112 kids for 2009-2010 to 63,685 for 2010-2011.

The state uses the federal definition which includes any child who lacks a regular, fixed, adequate nighttime residence. Schools use the same standard for years to get needy students extra services.

Escambia County has 1,423 homeless children which is up from 1,237 — a 15 percent increase. Santa Rosa County has even more– 1,651 children that are homeless, up from 1,328. That’s a 24 percent increase.

Poverty is one of those issues that no local elected official wants to address, but it continues to grow despite all the economic development efforts. Experts are citing one of the primary reasons for homelessness being foreclosures (During the third quarter, Florida posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate). Some estimate that three-quarters of the families in the report are homeless because either unemployment or underemployment (Parents working part-time, low-paying positions to replace what were once full-time jobs).

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  • L.Laird November 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Mr. Woods stated “While at the chamber I was aware that it was bad, but frankly its embarrassing” Thank you Mr. Woods for caring, problem is, you were the only one. Local Chamber seems to take money from the citizens of Pensacola, and gives nothing back to the poor or needy. Why should the citizens give local Chamber over $$$$ HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS OF TAX PAYERS MONEY every year? What does the average citizen get in return???? Senator Bill Nelson found out the hard way, and will no longer appear at any of the Chambers meetings, since the local Chamber paid dues to State Chamber, and Nation Chamber who spent millions of dollars trying to defeat Senator Nelson…..What a bunch of caring conservative gentlemen??????

  • George Hawthorne November 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Well said. Charles, until we deal with the least and left out we will not change our ranking as a poor county. A community is only as strong s its weakest link.

  • Charles Wood November 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I did quite a bit of demographic analysis for a consulting project for Escambia County after I left the chamber. The project was located in District 3 which has the most significant amount of poverty in the county. There are literally thousands of families in the district that earn less than $10,000 per year – not individuals, families. While at the chamber I was aware that it was bad, but frankly it’s embarrassing. We live in our nice house in east hill, less than five minutes from a completely different world…it’s long past time for Pensacola to face up to that reality.

    Pensacola will only be as strong as its weakest link. I worked with Lumon May on a concept that may help mitigate the situation but it will take a substantial amount of money, long term commitment by the county, PSC and others. It won’t be sexy and if we’re lucky it will make a small dent in this huge problem. Good luck.

  • chip chism November 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    @Jabrone…not sure if you are familiar with ross and his insightful comments…he’s like a WEBY call-in show in print form…only without the big words and fancy pretenses….

  • Jabrone November 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Ross, if you’re going to advertise for your blog in comments, at least fix the comments on your site. The top ‘recent’ comment is from 2007!

  • L. Laird November 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    15 Hundred, more like 3000, yes three thousand Escambia Children are HOMELESS. Question?? What is being done about it here in Escambia County??? 1. Beer Festivals 2.Lots of running events for all kinds of charity organization (NONE FOR HOMELESS CHRILDREN), 3. Lots of money$$$ from Restore funding for Old Veterans, whom are NOT homeless, have monthly income, beer joints to hang out, and funding for lighting and cutting the grass. City Council spending too much time fighting the Mayor and each other, rather than doing something Really Important. Like where in the *&^^+_)(& do THESE KIDS sleep and eat??? I know a large number of homeless children are attending school, getting breakfast and lunch, but no dinner, and NO place to do homework or sleep. Maybe our Library’s with proper Funding could reach out to these homeless children and have after school education session, Churches picking up the tab for providing Dinner. We make a big thing about feed the homeless men, whom have chosen their lifestyle, but these Homeless Children DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE HOMELESS OR GO HUNGURY. This community needs to Stop Worrying about all those military retires, and start caring about OUR YOUNG HOMELESS CITIZENS.

  • George Hawthorne November 26, 2012 at 9:47 am

    We must address the systemic deficiencies in a social structure of Escambia County and its product … poverty and crime. In other words: poverty and crime is the pain felt by a diseased society, caused by administrative, economic, educational, developmental and other dysfunction within itself that obstruct the flow of resources to ALL members of the Escambia … including the homeless.

    We must require our elected officials to make “structural readjustments” to laws and policies that include measures that deal with the root causes of poverty. Rick is entirely correct about the root causes of unemployment and underemployment in the County.

    That is why I am advocating for the passage of a “First Source Job Program” and a “Local Small business Enterprise Program” that is a good start in helping reduce unemployment and underemployment.

    The County and City should adopt a ‘First Source Job Program Ordinance’ developed to link Escambia County residents with employment opportunities provided through the City/County’s and RESTORE procurements. This proposed First Source Job Program Ordinance requires vendors seeking City/County and Restore contracts for goods, services and/or professional services to make efforts to hire unemployed Escambia County residents.

    Concurrently, the City and County should adopt a “Local Small Business Enterprises (“LSBEs”) Ordinance” in all City/County and RESTORE procurements to provide “preferential” treatment (through race and gender “neutral” means) to Escambia County-based small business enterprises. Thereby, increasing the City/County’s tax base and also increasing the capacity and number of LSBEs in City/County contracting and attracting new small business to locate in Escambia County and hire Escambia County residents.

  • Ross Calloway November 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Are these ‘children’ up to 26 yrs old? I’m afraid we’re looking at ‘fundamental change’ in America.