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Florida Homeless Advocates Wary Of Federal Funding Cuts

Freestone Wilson / Flickr

Florida homeless agencies are working to shelter people in the state. But proposed cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development could leave the state with fewer federal resources.

The federal government is considering cuts to public housing funding. That could mean fewer people are eligible for housing assistance. It’s also weighing making people pay more of their income in rent. Sylvia Smith, executive director of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, said less federal funding would be a step backward in addressing homelessness.

Credit Freestone Wilson / Flickr

“So a loss in revenue from the federal government could be devastating and for individuals it could place them at a higher risk of death or long term homelessness,” she said.

The Florida legislature approved more than $8 million in state funding for homeless agencies, the same level of funding as last year. But Smith said homeless services in Florida remain historically underfunded.

“We attempt to shelter and permanently house on very little," she said."So those numbers have to be split within every county in the state.”

Gov. Rick Scott has 15 days to sign off on the budget.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.
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