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Apopka mayor says $160K for homeless aid was used to 'balance the budget'

todayJuly 27, 2023

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APOPKA, Fla. — Community leaders in Apopka are discussing creating the first Apopka resource center to help the homeless population in the area.

What You Need To Know

  • Recently, several churches and organizations met to discuss solutions to homelessness in Apopka
  • Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson said the city spent $160,000, originally earmarked in the city budget for a homeless resource center in Apopka
  • As discussions among church leaders continue, Mayor Nelson says he’s all for the city supporting these efforts financially

On Tuesday, 12 churches and 14 organizations gathered to brainstorm solutions to help the homeless in Apopka. Some needs highlighted in the meeting included food, clothing, housing, counseling, job training and also a physical building.

RIGHT NOW: Apopka Mayor says $160,000 in city budget allotted for a homeless resource center was ‘used to balance the budget.’ Currently, there are no homeless shelters in Apopka, but church leaders are working to change that. pic.twitter.com/C8XGQoKF4g

— Maria Serrano (@mariaserranotv) July 28, 2023

Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson said the city had $160,000 in the budget earmarked from ARPA funds or Covid-19 money to put together a resource center for the homeless. He claims the city thought they had the property, but it didn’t work out and the owner doubled the price.

“I think it’s still somewhere in our budget,” said Nelson. “I don’t know that it was ever taken out of the budget, probably need to find out where that money is.”

CONTINUING COVERAGE: This is the moment I ask Mayor Bryan Nelson about the $160K. Hours after our interview, he said the money is not in the city’s reserves. @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/xFkw758Dfg

— Maria Serrano (@mariaserranotv) July 28, 2023

After the interview Thursday, Nelson said there’s no money in the reserves like he had thought. He said it was “used to balance the budget.”

Currently, there are no homeless shelters in Apopka.

Pastor David Schorejs of First Baptist Church said his church feels strongly about helping the homeless.

“There’s things inside of me that said, ‘listen you can have so much more out of your life than your experiencing, let us help you,’ and we just believed that we could,” said Schorejs.

He said his church was going through a difficult time and helping the homeless energized members.

“If we do this together, we can have an impact well beyond anything that any of us imagined,” said Schorejs.

Some solutions on a city-wide level he and other leaders discussed on Tuesday, include having a place for the homeless in Apopka.

“We need to work at getting a shelter in our city, all of the shelters are in Downtown Orlando,” he said. “When we have somebody who this is their connection, this is life for them, they don’t want to go down to Downtown Orlando, they want a place here, where they can be around what they know.”

Other needs also include having a city-wide community resource center where all churches can refer the homeless, help get them jobs, IDs, mental health services and start case files.

“So that we can work together and helping somebody rather than them just going from church to church and not ever really getting any help,” said Schorejs. “I think the city wants to do enough, I think that they struggle with what to do.”

As discussions among church leaders continue, Nelson says he’s all for the city supporting these efforts financially.

The next meeting with Apopka churches and organizations is Aug. 8 at 6 p.m., at Apopka’s First Presbyterian Church.

The City of Orlando tells Spectrum News there are three shelters located within city limits operated by the Coalition For The Homeless, the Orlando Rescue Mission and The Salvation Army.

Written by: admin

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