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Health Issues, High Rent Leads to Homelessness

November 26th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

Ten year-old Zach Bonner walked 280 miles from Tampa to Tallahassee because one in five homeless in Florida are children. On any given day, there are 20 to 40 thousand homeless kids in the state. Two factors that lead to being homeless are the high cost of renting an apartment for a single mother and health care issues. Kay Freemen of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition says the quicker the coalition can intervene, the less likely someone is to remain homeless.

“Frequently, what happens is that someone in the family becomes ill or they lose their job or there’s a lay-off,” Freeman says. “Then they can’t pay their rent, they can’t pay their mortgage and the next thing you know, they’re homeless. The chances are it’s their first episode of homelessness in their lives. So what we know locally is the longer someone is homeless, the more likely they are to remain that way.”

Estimates on the number of homeless are hard to come up with, but various reports have pegged the number in Florida as low as 55 thousand to as high as 200 thousand.

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