Transitional homeless housing opens in Osceola

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

Some of Osceola County's homeless have a place to live instead of on the streets or at motels on U.S.-192.

The county opened the doors to Victory Village, a new apartment complex along U.S. 192 by Four Winds Boulevard Tuesday.

The complex was built by The Transition House in partnership with the Osceola County Human Services Department to help families transition out of homelessness.

It's just a small solution to the county's bigger problem.

One homeless woman Eyewitness News spoke with said where she's living is no bigger than a living room.

The thought of living at Victory Village brought tears to Jennifer O'Connor's eyes.

"It feels like a home. Not a motel room," O'Connor said after she saw the Victory Village.

O'Conner lives with her husband and three kids in one of the motels along U.S. 192.

An Eyewitness News investigation discovered registered sex offenders living in those same places in January.

"It's not a good environment for kids," O'Connor said.

When county leaders cut the ribbon on the new apartment Tuesday, O'Connor saw it as a new chance for her family to get a place of their own.

There will be stiff competition. The Transition House only has room for 20 families and there are 3,800 homeless children alone in Osceola County.

Qualifying for a spot is one thing, keeping it is another.

"It's income-restricted, and obviously we have to verify the income on an annual basis," said Thomas Griffin of The Transition House.

O'Connor hopes she can meet that requirement because she says anything is better than where she and her three kids are living now.

"I'm hoping, come Friday when I do the application, I can get a place," O'Connor said.

With the place all finished, The Transition House is accepting applications and said it hopes to have families moving in by Oct. 15.

Part of the $1.2 million of the project was paid for with a federal grant. The rest of the program was paid for with private money.