PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – The Pensacola City Council voted 7-0 Thursday night to approve a 90-day eviction moratorium for homeless people living under Interstate 110 and committed to helping them in that time period to transition to permanent housing.
This year started with a small group of people living at Hollice T. Williams Park under the interstate and now it has grown to more than 100 people.
All I’m asking for is a chance to have a place to sleep and to get medical treatment until we can get back on our feet,” Amanda Greathouse said.
Greathouse is one of many homeless people who addressed the city council. They were asking for the council to pass, for the fourth time, a 90-day eviction moratorium.
“Finding a safe place where I could legally get my life back together was a miracle and we’ve just been seeing more and more miracles happening there,” Kevin Wilson said.
Some people showed up with signs that read “Support the Homeless” and “We need solutions. Not evictions.”
“I think whatever we pass in a resolution needs to begin to discuss transition,” Mayor Grover Robinson said. “Not just moratorium. It needs to start talking about how do we transition.”
Homeless advocates this week presented a $3 million plan to address the issue which includes more shelters especially for women and children, tiny home villages and campsites.
The city committed to vetting those options and helping the homeless transition to new housing over the next 90 days.
Most of the people under the interstate feel safer there and they’re getting help from non-profit organizations at that location.
“This place is the first place that’s given me any kind of hope for real resources for helping me in my situation,” Matthew Carr said. “I’ve been sleeping on city streets, corners, behind dumpsters for years until I found this place.”
The homeless people are hoping the council makes good on its promise to transition them to permanent housing. We expect to hear more about that in the coming weeks.
Earlier this year, the city planned to make everyone leave the park before a construction project begins. The council voted instead to pass a moratorium in February which has been extended several times. Advocates have been pushing for permanent solutions to what they call a housing crisis in the city.