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City of Key West Funds Liaisons to the Homeless

2/12/03 - The City of Key West has provided funds to the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) to create a Pilot Outreach Program, which will have workers serving as liaisons to the homeless community.

"The Outreach Program will be a valuable tool for the homeless population and the City of Key West as we seek solutions to some of the problems surrounding homelessness," said City Manager Julio Avael.

Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) will be responsible for the administration of the six-month Pilot Outreach Program, staffing the program with those who know what it means to homeless in Key West - former members of the homeless community who have worked with FKOC to turn their lives around.

The liaisons will be well versed in the available services in the area and will be able to direct members of the homeless population to helpful services in the community. Outreach workers will canvas the city and make routine visits to locations where homeless are known to gather.

Outreach workers will provide referrals to homeless in need of health and social services, advise on relevant City ordinances regarding solicitation and trespass, and maintain a bed availability list from provider agencies.

The liaisons will also calculate on a regular basis the number of homeless in Key West and survey the homeless regarding services they need and what they would actually utilize. A monthly report will be provided to the City.

"I am very pleased the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition has the confidence of City Officials and the SHAL Board of Directors, to take the lead role in working with law enforcement in not only providing outreach, referrals and alternatives to arrest, but also in gathering hard data to determine exactly what gaps need yet to be addressed." said Rev. Stephen Braddock, Executive Director of FKOC.

The Outreach Program will be monitored and evaluated by an oversight committee chaired by Paul E. Clayton, coordinator of the City Summit on Homelessness, with members of SHAL and City staff serving as committee members.

Rev. Braddock also noted that, "SHAL Chairman, Nelson Read, worked diligently with the City to secure the funds necessary for this project, funds that not only will accomplish these objectives, but that will also be used as local match to secure other Federal and State Funds at a ratio of 4-1. In other words, for every local dollar, we can typically secure four more dollars from government funding streams."

The Pilot Outreach Program was introduced at the City Summit on Homelessness Wednesday, February 12 to an audience of over 200 concerned citizens gathered to discuss the problem of homelessness in Key West.



Rev. Stephen E. Braddock, Executive Director, FKOC

Kelly L. Haglund, Public Information Officer

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