When I’m downtown Orlando, I’m always mindful of the area between the public library and the Orange County Regional History Center. There, you can see the homeless population in the area struggling during all times of the day.
Other major cities have these centers of homeless residents. While it’s a painful reminder of the problem, it provokes action to move on the issue.
Unfortunately, Orlando doesn’t have these reminders in areas where it effects the bottom line and it hurts us in our progress on affordable housing, where we’re ranked among worst in the nation (story HERE).
The situation isn’t getting any better either, as residents are currently experiencing painful rent hikes.
But if you go near the attractions, you won’t see signs of a housing struggle. Many visitors won’t even get near downtown during their trips.
What you will see are the “Invisible Homeless” families that are fueling the local tourism industry while we do nothing on affordable housing (story HERE).
They’re living in hotels, cars, and shelters away from the tourism attractions. I’m talking about men and women who are cleaning the hotel, and serving our visitors food.
And as you continue to see the region bounce back from the pandemic when it comes to visitor numbers, it’s possible we’ll go right back into a philosophy of inaction when it comes to helping our hurting families.
Out of sight. Out of mind. Right?
What we need are leaders that are vigilant, and won’t forget that just because we don’t always see our hurting families, they’re still there and they need our help.
We need to make a serious commitment to affordable housing. We’re not doing anything now. Believe me. I know.
And maybe if we work hard enough, we can get some of our struggling downtown neighbors off of the street as well.
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