PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — There’s over 1,500 individuals and families who are homeless on any given night in Palm Beach County.
That’s according to the county’s Homeless and Housing Alliance. But one member of the alliance says the problem is likely much worse.
The Lord’s Place says they’re now seeing five new families a week seeking housing. And there’s others under the radar.
WPTV got an exclusive ride-a-long with The Lord’s Place community engagement peer specialists Danzell Madison and Danielle King.
”You can’t stay in the building to do this kind of work. You have to meet the homeless where they’re at,” King said. “The data may say one thing but there are a lot of people who are ashamed of the situation that they’ve found themselves in and aren’t coming forward admitting they’re homeless until they’ve hit a bottom that they just can’t pick themselves out of.”
It involves regularly visiting very public spaces like the tree lines of very busy intersections, gas stations and shopping plazas. The evidence exists and The Lord’s Place community engagement peer specialists know how to find it.
”The reason I’m over here by the shopping cart is because that’s one of the signs of homelessness,” King said. “People like to keep their belongings safe and most people who are homeless are walking around with all of their worldly possessions.”
They’re also responding to calls from the public, part of the community engagement to combat homelessness from multiple directions at work. Connecting people like “Scott” with housing, health care, mental health services and transitional services including cell phones and transportation. Food insecurity is still a problem. GL Homes recently donated $5,000 to The Lord’s Place in response to Hunger Action Month and the needs of the homeless population. The donation supports gas, staff time and four weeks of shelf-stable food distribution.
”The perception is that Palm Beach County is an area of great wealth — but it’s also an area of great need,” said Sarah Alsofrom, GL Homes senior director of community relations. ”To break the cycle of homelessness we need collaboration. It’s more than just a hot meal or a sandwich. It’s about engagement and building a relationship and trust.”
And the need for more corporate, business and civic engagement also exists.
“No, they can’t do it alone which is why we need partnerships with other corporations, organizations and other agencies so we can help people that’s in distress,” Madison said.
If you would like to report homelessness in your area just visit, here: https://thelordsplace.org/what-we-do/community-engagement-services/
If you’d like to make a contribution to the cause, visit, here: https://thelordsplace.org/homepage/make-a-difference/donate/