Mayor Buddy Dyer announced a new, million-dollar plan Tuesday to help deal with Orlando's homeless population.
The new approach involves city leaders using $1 million to house chronically homeless people in apartments throughout Orlando, with the hope of getting some people off the streets for good.
Homelessness has been a problem Orlando has been trying to deal with for years. There are about 900 people living on the streets whom the city classifies as "chronically homeless," people who suffer from a physical or mental illness that prevents them from taking care of themselves.
"We have made a commitment as the city of Orlando that, over the course of the next three years, we are going to house 300 of these individuals," Mayor Dyer explained.
It's a follow-through on a promise Dyer made in his State of the City address over the summer. The mayor said Orlando found $1 million outside the city's general fund that it will use to find permanent, supportive housing for 300 people in apartments located throughout the city and Orange County.
"Permanent, supportive housing," Dyer explained. "Actually getting these individuals into a living situation, a housing situation, then surrounding them with the support system they need."
As a model, Orlando will be looking to Houston, which has adopted a similar program that significantly decreased the number of chronic homelessness on that city's streets.
Mayor Dyer said he will travel to Houston next week with other city leaders, including Andrae Bailey, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.
"Now four out of every 10 homeless people are off the streets and in a home of their own, and that's in just 36 months," said Bailey. "So, we have great optimism that our leaders can go to Houston see what works, and replicate it here."
Bailey said while putting homeless people in housing may seem like a lot of taxpayer resources, it will actually save the city money, and help the people who are most in need.
"These are people with severe disabilities that have no other option than the society helping to keep them off the streets," Bailey said.
City leaders hope to start helping homeless people find housing by the end of this year. Dyer said he hopes this $1 million will be a catalyst to get other philanthropists and donors involved.