Executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless – Michael Stoops was the featured speaker at Southwest Florida Homeless Coalition annual conference in Ft. Myers Friday. Stoops has been an advocate for the rights of homeless people for more than 35 years. His efforts have helped bring about federal legislation and funding aimed at alleviating poverty, housing shortages and other factors that contribute to homelessness. Stoops has lived among the homeless – and met with some Ft. Myers homeless residents.
“Generally in tourist areas homeless people are viewed with a lot more scorn and disdain. I was with a group of homeless people the other night and we passed out some mosquito repellant – they grabbed it just like that because they were living outside and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes – so it’s not easy being homeless anywhere in this country”
Stoops estimates there are 850 thousand homeless people in this country every night. 25 percent of the homeless are children, 23 percent are mentally ill. He says the primary causes of homelessness are a lack of affordable housing, low paying jobs, no health insurance and domestic violence. Michael Stoops says homeless can be eradicated – with affordable housing – and jobs.
Monday, 30 May 2005 01:00