Homeless advocates hope to deliver I-110 homeless camp solution by Thanksgiving

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – Chad Forester lives under the Interstate 110 overpass off Hayne Street near downtown Pensacola. He built a hut and lived there for three months.

“We’re normal people like you,” Forester said. “Simple mistakes have happened or something bad has happened. We’re pretty comfortable here. We did not ask to leave.

But the city of Pensacola needs the growing homeless population to leave the city park, officials say, and homeless advocates are working on solutions to move them by Thanksgiving.

ReEntry Alliance Pensacola, or REAP, is part of the Homelessness Reduction Working Group. He identified three new areas, off S Street, Palafox and Mobile Highway in Pensacola, to set up safer settlements that could offer a solution to the growing homeless population under the I-110 overpass.

“There is a fundamental desire – hope – that you can do more for these people and move them from living in tents under a highway to something much more permanent,” said REAP executive director Vinnie. Whibbs. “To make it more attractive to the neighborhood, you need to have wire mesh, a fence, and some sort of security barrier.”

These camps, if approved by city council, would provide social services, showers and toilets to the homeless.

This plan is one of the many proposals on which the Pensacola city council will vote.

Nonprofits hope to secure a portion of the $ 3 million in federal funding that should be used to tackle homelessness in the city.

“This is a chance to make a radical difference in our region,” said Whibbs.

A decision is expected to be made in November.

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Tommy Dodd

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