WELLINGTON, Fla. — Homelessness was a hot button issue in Palm Beach county, prior to COVID-19 and it has intensified.
The number of homeless living in places like John Prince Park has increased to now 156 people. And some who live there are non-essential workers who recently lost their jobs due to Florida’s stay at home order.
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This month homeless residents in the county are receiving some much-needed supplies, thanks to the generosity of others. Two weeks ago, the co-owner of the Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo Country Club began a campaign to provide food, shoes and tents to the 156 homeless people living at the park.
On Wednesday, the clubhouse posted on their Facebook page that they "delivered a warm breakfast for 125 people in need" and provided new tents.
”It’s very concerning and we’re very nervous about where our business goes from here but really the ability to be able to give back and do these meals has boosted our morale and it’s kind of given us some wind in our sails to ride this thing out,” said Sheila Motley, The Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo Country Club co-owner. “As long as we can focus, if we do a little bit to help the world heal, the rest will come around.”
While Motley’s staff has been reduced from 15 to four, she also has concerns about the county’s overall homeless and recently laid off. This was her motivation to partner with the nonprofit A Different Shade of Love, Inc.
”The tribe is getting bigger,” said Francky Pierre-Paul, founder and CEO of A Different Shade of Love, Inc. “In the moment of pandemic, we’re not scared. We’re asking how can we come together to help.”
This week, Palm Beach County commissioners approved a $2.5 million contract with Gulfstream Goodwill Industries on Tuesday to provide an emergency shelter for homeless people.
The county will use a former correctional facility, located at 673 Fairgrounds Rd. near the South Florida Fairgrounds, as a temporary shelter. The 17-acre compound is currently vacant but is being maintained for future use.
Motley and Pierre-Paul said they will continue to make donations three days a week, providing food, water, shoes and tents, until the tent city is cleared out as promised by commissioners in response to the number of laid off workers now living in the park.
If you would like to help, call 561-660-3300, visit the Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo Country Club website or contact them through their Facebook page.
County leaders also seek additional public support. If you are a landlord and willing to rent to the county's homeless population, you can be guaranteed up to 24 months of rent.
For more information about the S.M.A.R.T Landlords Campaign, click here.
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#Repost @iamfranckypierrepaul with @get_repost ・・・ Today we had a pleasure to provide lunches for our neighbors in tent city. Thank you to @theclubhousepbpcc for providing 150 amazing delicious meals to our village and @cayceharrison @quentinjudge for coming out and making this all happen. This partnership is cherished and we will make a lot of dreams come true. Much love!