My Day on the streets with Joel: Part 2

Joel Miller (right) with one of his clients, a local homeless man who is also named Joel.

Last week in my first blog I introduced you to Joel Miller, an Outreach Specialist for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness who is on a mission to help the homeless people of Central Florida. This week I will start to tell you about the adventure we had that day.

I met Joel at his downtown office, where you’ll rarely find him, and after a quick introduction I got the video camera out, and we departed on our walk.

We didn’t have to search long to find one of his clients. Standing within blue lines painted on the sidewalk was Joel, a gentleman whose only source of income is panhandling. (Panhandling is one of the new terms that I learned that day, and the painted blue boxes are areas that the city has set aside for legal panhandling.)

Getting arrested for panhandling is one of many legal problems that the homeless face, along with other issues such as hunger, illness, and mental health challenges.

One of their biggest concerns is finding a safe, secure place to sleep at night. This may seem obvious, but it goes deeper than that.  It is illegal to “camp” in Orlando city limits, which means many people get arrested.

Of course there are shelters where they can stay, but limited beds make them hard to get into and many require fees for a nights stay.

This is just a small summary of the difficulties that homeless Central Floridians have to deal with. The list is nearly endless, and Joel is out there trying to help as many people as he can.

Stay tuned for my next blog. In the meantime if you would like learn more about United Way’s effort to alleviate homelessness, including our partnership with the commission, click here.

If you are interested in the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and their efforts, visit their site here.

Oscar Lindquist
Full Sail Intern
United Way Marketing & Communications


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