Monday, February 19, 2007


It was not that long ago --- around the time of another recent cold snap --- that the Lakeland Ledger called attention with a couple of great stories dealing with the area's homeless population and the lack of space available to help get them off the streets.

Sunday, another front page piece. This time, the focus was on those folks who have either stayed their limited time in the local shelters and those who simply refuse to take advantage of them. Many of those who decline shelters simply do not want to be bound by their rules, or say they are just as dangerous as being on the street.

Recently, Lakeland Police and the Homeless Coalition of Polk County conducted a survey of the homeless camps they could find around town. They reportedly found 20 such locations, the largest having approximately ten tents scattered about. The numbers haven't been crunched, but last year's survey counted 749 homeless people across the county. While that number does not break down into geographical areas, one can only guess most of those will be in Lakeland, the county's largest municipality.


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