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Florida Homeless Advocates Wary Of Federal Funding Cuts

A mural on the side of a Tallahassee homeless shelter.
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.

“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.

Sarah Mueller is a journalist who has worked for media outlets in several states since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 and worked as a print reporter covering local government and politics.