|Published:||Apr 28, 2010 3:36 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Apr 28, 2010 3:36 AM EDT|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - There's new face to homelessness in Southwest Florida.
The Charlotte County Homeless Coalition says there was a 20% jump in the number of homeless from 2009 to 2010, much of it blamed on the economy and collapse of the housing market.
"It's just so overwhelming for me right now," said Tony Fulcher, who's now homeless after being kicked out of his former Port Charlotte home on the Friday before Easter. It was foreclosed even after he paid thousands for a loan modification that never happened.
They just took my money. They charged for the welcome packet they sent me," Fulcher said.
Finding a new home has been a struggle too, since Fulcher needs a place that will allow the home daycare that's also his primary source of income.
"We can't find anyone to rent to us. I have the (potential clients), I just gotta have a place," Fulcher said. "I can't even draw unemployment because I'm self-employed."
"More families are becoming homeless, rather than the individuals who were homeless in the past," said Tina Cabana, Homeless Prevention Director for the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.
The Charlotte County Homeless Coalition says stories like Fulcher's have become all too common: families impacted by the economy, eventually losing their home.
"Seven out of ten families I'm working with, to re-house them in the community to rentals, they're coming from foreclosure, they can no longer afford their home," Cabana said.
For now, Fulcher and his family are staying in a transitional home through the Homeless Coalition, but it's only a temporary solution.
"This is only for 30 days," Fulcher said. "A couple weeks from now, if there isn't an opening in a shelter, we'll be out on the street."
Fulcher says he'll keep fighting to find a place that will also allow his home business.
More homeless also means more costs for organizations like the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition. Right now, stimulus dollars are helping fund many of their programs.