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Homeless camp proposed for Fort Walton Beach

Rob Brown "Over the past few years, the homeless population of Ft. Walton Beach has risen dramatically. While they may hang out at places like this, The Landing on the sound, they are not welcome to stay here. Now, some in the community have come up with an idea for a place they would be."
The idea comes from local law enforcement and the Chamber of Commerce. The plan calls for a homeless campground. It's not intended for long term stays, but for a transition. The goal is to eventually build a cold weather shelter, soup kitchen, and rehab center.

Ted Corcoran " I say that's five to six years down the road. What can we do THIS YEAR to help these folks out? And this year is the concept of an outdoor area."

Ted Corcoran is the president of the Chamber of Commerce. He says the goal is to create a safe environment for those who need it, especially women and children.

Ted Corcoran "These folks are hard working people. Some of them are living in their cars, and other aspects of down on their luck. And this is an area where they can go to be safe, where they can be safe in the evenings, particularly for their families."
But some feel that Ft. Walton Beach is trying to relocate the homeless away from centers of business. Charles Lewis spends time with them. He says the camp would create a whole new set of problems.

Charles Lewis "How would these people get to a job? Are you going to put a shuttle out there every day and bring them in? Fine. If you want to do that, fine."

He says church run shelters have worked well.

Charles Lewis "I think the city would be great to give the churches the money. People that are professionals, that do this on a daily basis, feed, clothe, house these people. I think they ought to give them more grants, instead of the city coming in and doing this."
Rob Brown "Now it was emphasized that the idea is still just that, and is still being developed. Community input, though, will be welcomed. In Ft. Walton Beach, Rob Brown, Channel Three News.">>