• Need outpacing $1.4M set aside to help homeless in Seminole County


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County's homeless program needs more help.

    Taxpayers paid more than a $1 million to create a program to help house homeless families.

    It's been six months and already 700 families have applied for help.

    Eyewitness New spoke with leaders determined to make the program work.

    One of the goals is to help families living in motels get into a house or apartment. Officials said the number of families in need exceeds how many they can help.

    A motel paid for with taxpayer money is a blessing for Dana Young and her four children.

    "We were living couch to couch with four kids. Did not know where we were going to go the next day," Young said.

    Young is waiting to move into an apartment with the help of Seminole County's homeless program.

    The small team operates the program out of Harvest Time International in Sanford, vetting families who may be in need of emergency money to get back on their feet and become self-sufficient.

    Officials say the response has been overwhelming.

    "The biggest challenge, I believe, is just the sheer number of people that are in need," program manager Stacey McKenna of Homeless to Home said.

    Sixty families have been helped in six months but another 175 are on the waiting list.

    There's only enough money in the pot to help 150 families.

    "The number of staff versus the need has caused us to increase our staff members by one and half," McKenna said.

    It's why Young considers herself lucky.

    The program will teach homeless families how to budget, so they don't find themselves in a situation again.

    She's getting a second chance, where others may not.

    "It's an amazing feeling," Young said.

    The county set aside $1.4 million for the program.

    It's the largest amount of money the county has allocated to help homeless families.

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