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We Explore the Increases in Homelessness in Lee and Collier Counties

Sleeping_in_a_Parking_Lot.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
Homeless Person Sleeping in a Parking Lot

Every year the Lee County Homeless Coalition conducts what’s called a Point In Time, or TIP, census to count individuals and families who are homeless. The information they collect is given to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and helps determine what services are required to meet the needs of the county’s homeless population. This year’s count, which was conducted on January 20th, found a 68% increase in total homeless individuals, a 136% increase in total homeless households with children, and a more than 100% increase in the number of chronic homeless. We’re joined by the coalition’s executive director, Janet Bartos, to try to get a handle on what these increases mean, and what they’re seeing on the ground as we enter the summer.

 
We’re also joined by Christine Welton, she is Executive Director of the Hunger & Homeless Coalition of Collier County. They also conducted a Point In Time Count back in January. It found a 38% increase in the number of homeless children in the county, up to 1,215 from 881 the year before, and they also added a new category this year for homeless seniors.
 

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.