At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, the commissioners discussed Tallahassee’s increasing homelessness problem. The issue has recently been spotlighted by the controversial opening of a temporary shelter on Mahan Drive run by City Walk Urban Mission.
Multiple citizens made public comments on the Mahan shelter at the meeting, both supporting and opposing the shelter. Common concerns voiced by residents of the Mahan Drive area have included registered sex offenders residing within the shelter, the safety of surrounding neighborhoods and decreased property values.
Big Bend Continuum of Care (BBCoC) Executive Director Amanda Wander gave a presentation on how the BBCoC addresses homelessness, including educating the community, gathering data on homelessness and working with homeless service providers.
Following the presentation, the commissioners commented on the current homelessness crisis.
Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox, the City Commission’s representative to the BBCoC, said, “We don’t have enough units to place homeless people in to get them to a permanent solution.”
“Our focus has to be on helping the people, all people, not just homeless people,” she said.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson emphasized finding a humane solution to the homelessness problem. He also said it is not a government issue and that community partners need to work together to find solutions.
“Government, I don’t think, can solve this alone. We don’t have the resources to solve it,” he said. “I think that if we come together, all of our partners that are concerned about this issue, that we can begin to get our arms around it, but it’s not going to be solved overnight.”
City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow added that there is “no magic wand that’s going to solve the problem.” Matlow repeatedly argued that local government has to get ahead of the problem. He urged people to show sympathy to those who are homeless.
He also stated that he understands why neighborhoods are concerned about the situation and stated that criminal offenses and behavior that crosses the line should not be tolerated.
According to the meeting agenda, the City of Tallahassee “does not provide direct services to homeless individuals” but works with agencies and provides approximately $3.8 million in financial support for homelessness prevention, outreach and more. By 2025, the City aims to achieve “functional zero” homelessness.
City Walk’s permit is slated for discussion by the Development Review Committee on March 8.
We will end up just like LA! Look what they have done to Pensacola Street – crime, trash, fires, open use of drugs, tents, tarps,etc. Most of the crimes are not made known to the public! This street runs between FSU, TCC & A&M which bring in major $’s to Tallahassee & Leon county – how would the parents feel about sending their college students to be placed in such danger. I believe bill boards should be placed on I 10 & I 75 saying welcome to Tallahassee proud to be the next LA! Mayor & city/county commissioners as well as Rocky Hanna should be voted out ASAP! Take a drive through the area & remember to vote to save Tallahassee!
What about the panhandling by the racist Springtime Tallahassee parade or the Red Hills horse trials. Over the years they and others have skimmed off millions in public funds.
And don’t forget the millions that go to the clients of well-connected lobbyists such as Gary Yordon, Vancore Jones, Brian Ballard of Ballard Partners and Paul Bradshaw of Southern Group.
The multi-million dollar Cascade project is dong just fine.
$8 million a year will now go to the children’s Services Council which thanks to a racist Tallahassee power structure will place black and brown children under the thumb of Governor Ron DeSantis who is in love with white supremacist Donald Trump.
If you routinely give all the money away to rich white people who don’t even need it, homelessness should not be a surprise.
If you go to any coastal restaurant with outdoor seating there is typically a clearly posted sign that says “Do not feed the seagulls.” If you have ever seen what happens when someone igores that sign, just go to the 2000 block of West Pensacola Street.
The hard reality of throwing french fries in the air is that more birds will appear. More that you can feed, more than you can house, more than you can provide health care and more than you can afford. So follow the sign’s instructions and stop making this town a beacon for free stuff paid for with our money.
Many of these scammers shop at the same stores I do. The ones by Costco eat breakfast at McDonald’s before they panhandle in the center isle of the road. There are no identified veterans that are homeless in Tallahassee. There are those who want to live in the woods so they have no rules to follow and do drugs and smoke $6 a pack cigarettes. I think we need to teach them to fish. Help those with mental disabilities.
I will admit that I am torn. I would say there but for the grace of God go I. I believe these people need help but many will not take it. I have worked hard for my little piece of property in the city of Tallahassee. I am not a 1%, I have an 11 year old car, my vacations consists of a day at Shell Point. My single biggest investment is my house. With God’s grace and hard work, I want to have it so I do not end up homeless. All my hard work, being cautious with my money, not being frivolous – why doesn’t that count? Allowing this population of homeless people to defecate, urinate, and whatever else will DESTROY what I have worked for my whole life. I do not have an answer, but it cannot be that I don’t matter. That my neighbors don’t matter. As I said, I am torn.
They all seem to wrap themselves and their ideas in the same misguided and futile goal of “ending homelessness”. This dream that is as realistic and achievable as the goal of “ending climate change”. Both are not only improbable, but also impossible to accomplish. No more can we change the evolutionary path of a planet than can we change human nature. It is a costly goal that is simply a set up for failure.
Catherine is on the right path with respect to addressing the issue. There is no cookie cutter solution to an individual-based challenge… no matter how much taxpayer dollars are confiscated and thrown at it. Only the individual has the power to alter or change their direction, place, and/or standing in life. The best we can hope to do is offer directions and reasonable help in finding their way.
As I’ve stated before, the old adage stands as true today as it was when first coined: “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”. It is the horse; and only the horse; that determines whether it lives by taking advantage of the offering, or dies of its own ignorance and stubbornness.
And pray tell who will pay for your barracks bootcamp compound?
Tram road is not a suitable location.
If you can talk Franklin Graham into setting up a camp to facilitate this that would be wonderful and I’m in!
They need to stop the panhandling at intersections. It is creating sex trafficking in my opinion.
Your idea may work with private contributions, but to put that on the backs of taxpayers is not feasible in my opinion.
Your heart is in the right place and it’s exemplary that you offer a plan of action.
Catherine………. I think some cities deal with it by Bussing them to OTHER Cities, like Tallahassee…….
I still stand by this……..
“We know it needs to be on a Bus Route therefor there are few places to choose from. I say
buy several Acres on Tram Road (inside Cap. Cir.) or on Spring Hill Road (inside Cap. Cir.) and build 8 to 10 large Quonset Huts. 6 to 8 of them are to be like Bootcamp Barracks and the rest used for a Mess Hall, Laundry, Showers, etc. Nothing fancy, just the basics. Fence the area off and set rules. You run it like you would an Army Base. To maintain the Property and Buildings, Cooking and Cleaning, you assign Jobs to those staying there that are able to do them. Doing this will give them time to get cleaned up, get the help they need and hopefully find a Job and move into a place of their own. It will also give them an Address so they can receive their Benefits, especially since many of them are Veterans.”
The commission should task Porter and Matlowe to head-up this issue.
I believe this duo could offer results and a plan of action.
Well first they need to determine the real homeless that really need help vs those who choose that as a life style. Curb the panhandling by transients or we will end up being a hub for that. Move those ppl along. You don’t see panhandling in Apalachicola or monticello or thomasville. We need a no tollerance on drugs like franklin county. And we need to provide help back into a functional, safe life where someone can earn a living.
Look to cities who have successfully dealt w this and come up w a plan that will work here. Talking about it or assigning a task force is nothing.