It’s no secret that Osceola County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state of Florida. Along with that rapid growth has come an increasing challenge to develop a long range plan to address the amount of homelessness in the county. One county commissioner is working to spearhead a One Stop Care Crisis Center to offer not a hand out, but a hand up to those in our community who are in need.

Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry, along with dozens of concerned citizens, came before Kissimmee’s elected officials Tuesday night making the case for a one stop crisis center. Commissioner Choudry and several residents took to the podium to present facts, statistics, and evidence that supported their belief that  a 24/7 crisis center would be beneficial to the county. In addition, residents like Dawn Daise took time to address the board with personal stories about why this subject is important to them. Dawn is a college graduate and mother of 5. She is well educated, driven, and works hard. She was, not long ago, homeless and living in a mini van with her kids. “I am here to dismantle the paradigm. I am here to show you that this can happen to anyone”, Dawn pleaded with the commissioners. Many others expressed similar statements. Pastor Bill from the Rock Church has offered up their facilities for the One Stop Care Crisis Center. “I am out in the woods, helping and talking to these people all the time. We can’t do nothing, we can’t ignore this!”

City Commissioners listened as resident after resident approached the podium, each with a strong conviction and an a desire to help fix what they described as an undeniable issue in the county. “We have to start seeing homeless people as just that.. people” said one young Kissimmee resident.

Commissioner Choudry was seeking a motion that would support her efforts in moving forward with the Crisis Center in the county, but that wasn’t to be on a night filled with varying opinions and at some points, great contention.

Tuesday night’s commission meeting once again didn’t provide the support  Commissioner Choudhry was looking for, but with what looks to be growing interest within the community, the One Stop Care Crisis Center discussion is sure to continue in Osceola County.

Homelessness and a growing number of residents who are in need in our county are issues that won’t go away on their own, and the answer will not come overnight, or be a simple one, but it is our hope that our elected officials will find away to work together to develop a long range solution that will care for those in need, and will look past their differences in order to make a positive difference for every resident of Osceola County.