MIAMI – Homeless outreach workers see a troubling trend backed by data from the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.
One out of every four people who called the Trust helpline faced “court evictions” or “imminent risk” of losing housing, according to statistics shared with CBS News Miami.
Under I-95 freeway ramps, hands-on outreach in Overtown targets traffic jammed into tents full of crisis.
“It always brings tears to my eyes because I went through this,” Jovonte Jackson, an outreach worker for the Camillus House Lazarus program. “So all I know is that you have to keep the hope.”
Between February and May, 42,626 people called the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust for help, according to data shared with CBS News Miami. Roughly one out of every four callers, 10,663, faced “a court eviction with a notice to vacate” or were “at imminent risk of homelessness.”
That data highlights problems outreach teams see every day.
“We got a lot of clients that are willing and able to get into housing but the housing market and prices keep rising and the difference, the gap between the vouchers and the housing market it’s a great gap there,” said Reggie Holmes, Camillus House Lazarus Program Manager.
Felix Cardona has no housing voucher.
“I feel good,” he told CBS News Miami in Spanish.
Much like Barbaro Jenkins, the greatest struggle is finding hope. He spent seven years in prison for grand theft. While there, Jenkins’s mother, father, and grandma died. So when he was released from prison in February, he came home to nothing except a tent and whatever support outreach teams deliver.
“It’s only so much they can do and so many they can help but the ones that do make it, they good,” Jenkins said.
“This stuff mentally can destroy you,” Jackson said.
Jackson grew up in Camillus House shelters and joined its Lazarus program to help fill immediate survival needs and inspire.
“I was taught you not blessed until you bless others,” Jackson said. “So me, it’s my blessing because I’m giving back.”
The Trust works with dozens of landlords on housing solutions. In February, the group won a $21 million grant that will help buy and renovate four facilities. It could create 550 permanent homes for people desperate for shelter as soon as October.