In response to a recent Letter to the Editor that discussed the increasing homeless population in Ocala/Marion County, several county residents wrote in and shared their thoughts on the topic:
“I agree with the situation on the homeless. Instead of allowing new businesses and all the new growth, maybe the city needs to think about building a homeless shelter. We understand that many years ago, Ocala was bequeathed millions for a homeless shelter. It was never built and where is all that money? A lot of the homeless are veterans who fought for our freedoms. They deserve way better. So Ocala, stop the nonsense with the growth of new businesses, housing, restaurants, and take care of the homeless who need help. I also know some are just panhandlers taking advantage. It is important to look into this matter, see who is who, and go from there to fix this problem,” says Ocala resident Marta Varnell.
“This subject is a double-edged sword. I think I read recently that the city council voted to allow panhandlers and homeless people to be on the streets. If that’s true, research who you vote for next time around. On the other hand, there’s been so many people moving to Florida that there is no affordable housing. No, we don’t want California, but we don’t want more low-rent apartments taking up more and more land. These people need a place to stay (dorms?) and there are plenty of jobs. A hand up, not a handout,” says Jackie White, Reddick resident.
Would you like to share your thoughts with us? Share them in a comment or by writing a Letter to the Editor.