It was standing room only Monday night at 1 Courthouse Square as County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry spoke to concerned citizens about the number of homeless residents currently living in Osceola County and why she needs the communities support to help accomplish much needed change.

In attendance at Monday’s meeting were local business owners, religious leaders, Non-Profits as well as concerned citizens who all have the same question, what can we do to help these folks in need get back on their feet? Choudhry recently visited an organization in New Jersey that has all but eradicated their homeless issue by opening what she referred to as a “One Stop Shop”, a place where people already homeless or on the verge of can come to receive services such as job placement, health care, hot meals, temporary lodging as well as therapy services.

The ultimate goal at this center is to provide temporary assistance until these individuals can be placed in permanent housing. Choudhry has presented a detailed plan on how such a center could be brought to Osceola County to her fellow Commissioners, but she has faced opposition based on funding. She urges us all to do our homework. In researching we find that by providing such services, we actually spend less. Currently, millions of dollars are spent annually providing emergency room care for homeless residents. In addition, they are often arrested and that eats away at tax payer dollars as well.

Several folks spoke tonight about their personal experiences of being homeless or taking care of those who are. There was no shortage of comradery or passion for this cause. The community seems determined to find a solution to this ever-increasing problem and are open to new ideas and suggestions from the community. The next meeting to further discuss the issue will be held on February 28th at 5:30pm at the same location.