Seminole County shelter for needy families to expand

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County's only emergency shelter for needy families is set for a major expansion.

Channel 9's Bianca Castro got a look at how the changes will benefit the families who have nowhere else to go.

Basic household chores aren't new for former homeowner Christy Skinner-Smith. She and her family lost their home soon after they lost their jobs.

"Never, never in a million years did I ever think that we would end up in this position," said Smith.

They ended up here at the Rescue Outreach Mission in Sanford.

The facility is getting $700,000 in federal dollars to expand and help the growing number of homeless families.

Officials said that there are 859 Seminole County families with no home -- 20 percent more than last year.

"What we see today are families, men women that are working, but they're working full time, part time, but the money that they're making is not enough to sustain themselves," said Andrew Powell of the Rescue Outreach Mission.

Currently, the center uses every square foot it has. The family dorm rooms are small and become cramped. The computer lab also serves as the case manager's office.

Powell said the money will be used to build a new addition, equipped with more office and counseling space. They will add 10 beds to their current 80.

Powell said on average, families stay two to three months until they can get into a place of their own.

Skinner-Smith said her family is almost to that point.

"It's a great program. We would be in the woods if we weren't here," said Skinner-Smith.