Seminole County leaders put charity running homeless program on chopping block



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned one of Seminole County's biggest charities could be getting the ax from county leaders.

Officials said taxpayers have spent more than $1 million on a homeless program through Harvest Time International, yet the program has had repeated problems, citing "repeated deficiencies in performance."

Harvest Time has not yet responded, and residents like Susan Rankin who are getting assistance are getting worried.

Rankin, who has cancer and is disabled, is afraid she and her son could end up back on the streets.

"I can't be homeless again," she said. "I can't do that to him."

After a year and a half of bouncing from relatives' homes and motels, Rankin, her son and their dogs were finally given an apartment by a county-funded program called Homeless to Homes.

"It was an answer to my prayers," said Rankin. "We have a wonderful home. My son has a room."

Homeless to Homes has been run by Harvest Time since January 2013, but county leaders are threatening to terminate the contract.

In a letter, they wrote, "There are still significant concerns relative to program implementation and performance."

Officials also have concerns with case management quality, but they did not say what those issues were.

County leaders said they want a smooth transition to another charity.

Rankin said she never had a problem with Harvest Time, and she's hoping that whatever happens next will not affect her new life.

"This was just such an answer to my prayers and I have always known that it was a temporary thing and that at some point we may end up homeless again,m" she said.