• New scheme targets Central Florida homeless population

    By: Jeff Deal


    Do you give money to the homeless?

    9 Investigates uncovered how local homeless people are recruited to work on street corners and forced to give up a cut of what they earn. 

    Channel 9’s Jeff Deal uncovered a new scheme is targeting Central Florida’s homeless population.

    A man who told Channel 9 to refer to him as "Country," said that while he doesn't beg anymore, he knows some of the people on the corners are actually working for someone -- recruited and assigned to the corner to ask for money.

    "If he gets $50, he gives that guy about $30 or $40," Country explained.  "He gets $10 of it right there. But they say that's their corner. I'm not allowed to stand on it."

    Pastor Scott Billue with Matthew's Hope said pimps promise the homeless protection along with a cut of the money, drugs or alcohol. Billue, whose organization helps the needy on Orange County's west side, even said pimps will offer a place to stay in the exchange.

    "It's a business," Billue said. "I mean, they're pimping out people."

    Officials with the Orlando Police Department told Channel 9 they haven't heard of the scheme, but said directing someone to solicit wouldn't necessarily violate the law unless they are asking them to do something legal.

    Billue said that some of the newer homeless people feel like they would be less likely to be helped.

    Others are angered because they may have been on the streets for years and feel as if the scheme pushes them out.


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