Orlando Organization Housing LGBTQ Youth Needs Help After Missing State Funding
ORLANDO, Florida – Zebra Coalition, which helps homeless members of the LGBTQ community, says it missed critical state funding that would help a renovation project to expand efforts to provide homes for children.
“This is ridiculous, it made me so crazy, I was shaking because I thought Zebra was going to have more beds, and we will get everything they ever wanted, what I always wanted”, a said Reginald Collins.
Collins is currently hosted by the Zebra Coalition and says he is hurt by the decision by Governor DeSantis’s office to reduce the Zebra Coalition’s request to fund the state budget.
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The coalition asked for $ 750,000 to help renovate the Davis Park Motel near East Colonial Drive.
“This housing program gives young people the opportunity to change their lives. When young people are generally homeless, they either start selling their bodies or using drugs. I can’t tell you how many times I saw young people probably 6 months ago and now I see them on the streets and they look like they are dying, ”Collins said,
The Davis Park Motel Renovation Project is expected to house 35 homeless LGBTQ youth. Currently, the coalition helps around 400 young people a year, but with the renovation project, that number would triple.
Collins said if anyone needs proof of why it’s needed, look no further than their own story.
“I had been through so much physical, mental and emotional abuse, I was used to my body, I had to become a night walker at some point just to survive,” Collins said.
News 6 asked the governor’s office why the funding was vetoed from the budget.
In a statement, the governor’s office responded, “The state prioritizes funding for projects and initiatives that have a regional impact… limited to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
The governor’s office has suggested that organizations like the Zebra Coalition apply for DCF funding, but according to the coalition they have already applied for grants, but the public will need to rely on.
“We need to care about all of us and what it’s going to look like in this world 10 to 15 years from now if we don’t take care of our children,” Heather Wilkie, said the executive director of the Zebra Coalition.
The Zebra Coalition said that while it will continue its efforts to renovate the motel without more funding, the project will be delayed for months, if not years.
If you want to lend a hand to the coalition click on this link.
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