City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow appeared on Above the Fold with Tallahassee Reports Editor Steve Stewart on Feb. 2 to discuss issues including homelessness, affordable housing and the new Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB).
At the beginning of the show, Matlow discussed how local government has not taken an active role in solving the issue of homelessness and instead shifted responsibility to the Kearney Center and other nonprofits.
“What we’re seeing, compounded by the pandemic and evictions, is an increase of the homeless population on North Monroe, on Mahan, out on I-10, and really, the question is what do we do?” Matlow said. “We can’t vilify people; we can’t displace people and have them move around. So, how do we create the resources and space to get people into homes and shelters in a way that works for everyone?”
Matlow said that money is not the issue — because the money to solve homelessness exists — it is about making it a priority. Matlow mentioned that local solutions can include getting people into housing as soon as possible because interjecting right away can be effective in making sure the same people are not homeless a year from now.
The new Citizens Police Review Board also came up during the show. Matlow appointed Luther Lee to the board and said that he has high hopes for the board because of its diversity and the different backgrounds that members represent.
“Having that open line of communication is huge because a lot of times, people feel like government and law enforcement can cause social unrest but having more community involvement, I think can go a long way,” Matlow said.
At the end of the show, Matlow discussed affordable housing and gave his thoughts on the supply of housing for people who have a low income. He expressed the trend of large and luxury developments being constructed but not enough projects focused on the low-income population.
“There are avenues and paths, we just need to get creative about it,” he said. “I think the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) can be a driving force in helping to redevelop small lots in Frenchtown and the Southside that can be nice, safe, affordable housing units. And there are some opportunities in Blueprint as a lot of their projects have actually demolished housing and how they can play a role in replenishing them.”
The full audio of the interview is available here.