Friday, May 20, 2011

Volunteers envision resource center
for Orlando's homeless

A group of loosely organized but devout volunteers is trying to succeed in doing what a decade of government officials, task forces and regional commissions have not -- creating a downtown Orlando drop-in center for the homeless.

The collaboration, which doesn't yet have a name, includes several local faith-based groups that have been sharing food and spiritual encouragement with the homeless at Lake Eola Park. Their effort was spawned in large part by the city's anti-feeding law, which sharply restricts food-sharing events of more than 25 people in downtown parks. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that the law is constitutional.

"I still am bothered by the ruling, and I still feel the city is trying to hide the problem of homelessness," said P.J. Charles, executive director of Straight Street Orlando, a Christian ministry that helps the homeless. "But, ultimately, we're not in this to be political. We just want to help people."

Read the Orlando Sentinel report here.


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