Homeless people continue to gather at downtown Orlando library

ORLANDO, Fla. — Downtown's Orlando Public Library continues to be a gathering spot for homeless people.

On Monday, Channel 9's Steve Barrett spotted many who appeared to use the library as a daytime shelter from the cold or as a place to recharge their electronics.

"Everybody (is) always staring and looking -- just judging ... They don't know the story," said Brie Perez, a homeless woman who has been kicked out of the library three times. "They said, 'You can't have your blankets in here.' And then they kicked me out."

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Sally Shinn, who visited the library for the first time Monday, said she noticed the presence of homeless people.

"This is a place for everyone. This is not designed for a place for respite for somebody who needs to just warm up and be safe," she said. "(Homeless people) shouldn't be searching for service, places to help. We need to be making it available (to them)."

Juan Zachary, who is homeless, said many shelters do not allow people to stay at them during the day.

"Once you get up early in the morning, you have to leave," he said. "There is no sitting around. There is none of that."

About one year ago, Channel 9 investigated a list of trespass warnings against more than 200 people who had been kicked out of the library for breaking at least one of its 30 rules of conduct. Not all of the people were homeless.

The rules forbid visitors from soliciting money from others, engaging in sexual conduct, bringing bedding materials in the building and using bathrooms to bathe or wash clothing.

Channel 9 has asked the Orange County Library System how many people have received trespass warnings in the past year. The records are expected to be released in the coming days.

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