Orlando, FL

One in Every 100 Homeless Children in the US Now Lives in Orlando Area – Orlando’s Homeless Problem Is Getting Worse

Toby Hazlewood

A WW2 veteran is trying to improve the situation

The scale of the homeless problem in Florida, and in Orlando more specifically is well known and has been reported for years. It got a lot worse during the pandemic, but the issue has remained for years.

Areas around Disney World are in particularly renowned for the number of homeless forced to live and work in the area, trying to improve their situation and often getting nowhere.

The concept of 'working homeless' is a relatively new one, and reflects that escalating housing costs are difficult to meet, even for those who are fortunate enough to have paid work. Many such people are struggling to make rent, and are instead forced to effectively camp outdoors, or seek refuge in the low-cost motels that are often dirty and bug-ridden.

Perhaps most-tragically, a recent report suggests that one in every 100 homeless children in the United States lives in the Orlando metropolitan area. This concerning statistic makes the situation seem all the worse.

A problem for all age groups

Another recent report suggested that Florida's homeless population now includes more senior citizens than ever before. This too is a reflection of the increase to living costs and the fact that many seniors who were drawn to retiring in Florida can no longer meet the escalating costs with their retirement income.

How to resolve it?

The homeless problem is not an easy one to solve. Some might argue that it should be a matter of greater political importance than Florida's ongoing involvement in helping to resolve the US-Mexico border crisis - something that seems to be driven out of partisan political motives.

Some Floridians are choosing instead to take the matter into their own hands. One example is the 98-year-old World War 2 veteran Max Maxfield, from Lake Nona. He and his daughters started a charity - Hello Luv - which donates care packages to homeless veterans in the area. As at Wednesday November 10, over 350 of these had been distributed.

The gestures of Mr Maxfield won't solve the problem alone, but they are a start. Perhaps if everyone made even a small attempt to help out the homeless, the situation could be improved a little. If you want to support Mr Maxfield in his efforts, his charity has an Amazon wishlist where you can donate goods that will then be distributed to homeless veterans in the area.

Do you think Florida's politicians are doing all they could about the homeless crisis in the state? How would you tackle the issue if you had the power? Let me know in the comments section below.

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