Obama Homeless Czar Visits Central Florida


    ***Below is an update on how national and local leaders are combatting homelessness in Central Florida. Special thanks to Andrae Bailey from Impact Homelessness for sharing.


    Barbara Poppe, the Nation’s top government official on the issue of homelessness, is visiting Central Florida to meet with the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). She will work with Central Florida’s leaders as they prepare future plans for solutions to homelessness in our region. Ms. Poppe was the keynote speaker at a “State of Homelessness in America” held this morning with the Central Florida Commission on Homeless and other community leaders.


    Barbara Poppe was appointed the Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) in October 2009. In this role, she oversees the federal response to homelessness by working with 19 federal agencies to create partnerships at every level of government and with the private sector with the goal of ending homelessness in America.


    Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Mayor Buddy Dyer, Co-Chairs of the Commission, agree that it is invaluable to have America’s top homeless leader come to Central Florida to work with the commission and it is critical as we prepare to create our official goals and objectives to reduce homelessness in Central Florida. 


    ”Strategies to address homelessness can be found, but only when we bring together the collective wisdom and passion of all the stakeholders.” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Co-Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.


    “Bringing about changes and moving the needle on homelessness requires coordination between local, state, and federal leaders.” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Co-Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.


    The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness serves as the catalyst to mobilize, coordinate, and facilitate solutions for the homelessness in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. Their goal is to work with the top leaders from each sector of the community and rally them together in a common plan to fight homelessness in Central Florida.


    This year, the CFCH has focused its revitalized efforts on building a collaboration of public and private leaders, studying successful homeless models around the country, and laying the foundation for its new goals and objectives through research and analysis for 2014 and beyond. ”2013 has been a year dedicated to identifying new information and strategies, creating collaborations around the issue of homelessness, and preparation for future implementation of solutions for our neighbors in need.” said Andrae Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.  ”We now have over 300 leaders working together on solutions for the homeless; the collective impact of these leaders will now be focused on next steps for those in need in the months to come,” said Bailey.


    The CFCH also recently launched its Rethink Homelessness Advocacy Campaign. This campaign, which focuses on engaging the general public on the issue of homelessness through true stories of the homeless on Central Florida’s streets, told by them personally, has reached over 5,000 followers on Facebook in the first six weeks of the campaign.  ”It is critical for our community to see the faces and hear the stories of those affected by homelessness in Central Florida,” said Craig Swygert, President of Clear Channel Outdoor.  Clear Channel Outdoor has generously donated billboards to spread the message of this campaign to those that travel Central Florida’s roadways, further increasing the message’s reach.  The initial billboard campaign will kick off in early December.


    ”These are real people that are hurting and need our help,’’ said Bailey.  ”Advocacy is a critical and important part of our work going forward. We must get the entire community involved if we are going to bring about real help and solutions for the individuals, children and families who find themselves without a place to call home.”