Addressing Homelessness in Ocala/Marion County

Posted at 11:54 am on 09/16/2016

Community Foundation to Convene Public Private Partnership to Address Chronic Homelessness  

As reported in the Ocala Star Banner , Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in conjunction with other supporting partners has embarked on a new project, SAVING MERCY, to address chronic homelessness in our community.  City Council President Jim Hilty, a member of Blessed Trinity's Endowment Board, announced his focused effort to address homelessness, especially the chronically homeless, in Ocala.  Both Blessed Trinity and Councilman Hilty recognize that for any impact to occur it will take a collaborative effort.

The Community Foundation is pleased to offer its services in our role as convener to address this issue of chronic homelessness in our community.   In an initial meeting with Councilman Hilty,  it was agreed that the Community Foundation would engage with those spearheading this effort to coalesce what is being done and what needs to be done relative to public private partner engagement.  As Councilman Hilty notes:  "I think its got to be a public/private partnership for sure...unfortunately no one is coordinating all these efforts."

Permanent housing for the chronically homeless is especially challenging.   Salt Lake City is the prototype nationally, however, each community is unique and must address its own challenges and opportunities. An article in Mother Jones in February 2015 provides an indepth overview of the issue from a national perspective.  The Florida Philanthropic Network has convened the Florida Funders Together - an affinity alliance dealing with the statewide issue of homelessness.

The Community Foundation looks forward to partnership with Councilman Hilty, Blessed Trinity, the Homeless Coalition, the Salvation Army, Interfaith Emergency Services and the nearly 60 other agencies dealing with the homeless issue in our community to create much needed synergy and sustainability as our commuity tackles what Executive Director of Interfaith, Karla Grimsley, describes as "really one of the most complicated problems there is".


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