Tallahassee’s homeless population can expect more space, more help and better accommodations when a new shelter opens in April. A new facility on West Pensacola Street is a major improvement over the city’s main homeless refuge.

The Shelter

The National Weather Service says Wednesday’s low of 22 degrees will be the lowest temperature point this week.  And the city of Tallahassee and other groups will be helping the city’s homeless population manage the chilly weather. 

The city is hosting a temporary cold night shelter at Jacob Chapel Baptist Church until Friday. The church will provide more space for people who need warm rooms for the freezing nights. City spokeswoman Lizzy Kelley says several organizations will be helping to provide this much-needed service.

Capital Report: 12-19-2014

Dec 19, 2014

The United States will resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and reaction to the announcement has been mixed. The decision to normalize a relationship with the Communist country could have a big impact on Florida for decades to come.

From Mr. Rebman's facebook page

A Central Florida middle school teacher has taken the year off to travel the state while living as a homeless person. Tom Rebman hopes to raise awareness as well as compassion for the more than 40,000 people living on the street in Florida.

Rebman started his awareness program in Orlando where he survived by panhandling and relying on donations. He slept on the street or in shelters,

Homelessness Prevention Could Get Local Funding Source

Mar 4, 2014
A mural on the side of a Tallahassee homeless shelter.
Freestone Wilson / Flickr

The Florida Senate is considering allowing local governments more freedom to use tax revenue to combat homelessness.

The legislation is part of a triumvirate of homelessness bills from Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala. It allows local option sales taxes to be used for homelessness prevention efforts, but doesn’t allow local governments to exceed the one percent threshold they’re currently subject to – so if a county has already met its tax cap, there’s no additional funding available to combat homelessness.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

For the third time in three weeks Thursday night, the Tallahassee Fire Department responded to a call of a structure fire at an abandoned hotel near Interstate 10. TFD Spokesman Mike Bellamy described multiple rooms being on fire and falling apart. And as of midday Friday, fire crews were still trying to quell the flames. Power has long since been cut off to the building, leading investigators to suspect arson. But Bellamy said although the investigation is ongoing, he doesn’t believe someone was trying to damage the hotel.

Capital Report: 01-31-2014

Feb 3, 2014

Florida Governor Rick Scott has rolled out the lion’s share of his budget recommendations.  They include 500-million dollars in the tax cuts Scott promised, as well as additional proposals to increase spending on areas such as the environment and education. Regan McCarthy reports that’s all while reducing the size of the budget compared to last year.

Bad Weather Hampers Tallahassee Homeless Census

Jan 31, 2014
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Across the country this week, volunteers conducted what’s known as the point-in-time homelessness count. WFSU joined one Tallahassee group as they tried to find people living without shelter in Florida’s capital city.

At 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, about 30 volunteers huddled in a side office at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition cafeteria.

Outside it had just started pouring rain. One of the team leaders, Vicki Butler, had just come in from an all-day shift and she was about to go back out for the night shift.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

People waiting to ride buses in Tallahassee Friday morning got a surprise to help take the edge off the cold weather. City workers handed out gloves, hats, donuts and coffee to bus riders and the homeless.

At 7 a.m. Friday, it was COLD in Tallahassee.

WTSP Meteorologist Bobby Deskins gave this forecast: “It’s breezy out there, and it’s going to make it feel more like the 20's as you step outside.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families counts homeless individuals at the end of each January.  They released their figures for 2013 this week, but they may offer more questions than answers.

Regan McCarthy

Over the weekend, the Haven of Rest, a homeless shelter for men, closed its doors after about 30 years of service in the community. The sudden move left community members and advocates scrambling for a solution to keep the 50 or so emergency shelter residents from being turned out on the street. So, Big Bend Homeless Coalition’s Hope Community has opened its doors inviting the Haven’s residents to stay in its cafeteria, but officials say it’s not a solution that can last very long.

The Capital City area’s homeless population keeps growing. Big Bend Homeless Coalition Executive Director Susan Pourciau has the sobering numbers. She also has hope for the future as more private and public organizations join the fight to give homeless individuals and families a chance for better lives.