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Fort Lauderdale Gets Funding To Extend Temporary Housing For Homeless Due To COVID-19

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) -- A group of about two dozen homeless people and community activists came together Monday to speak out against the City of Fort Lauderdale.

This comes after 70 homeless people, who have been staying at the Rodeway Inn & Suites on State Road 84, were given an abrupt notice they would have to pack up and leave sooner than expected.

They were there as part of a voucher program set up by the City of Fort Lauderdale to help accommodate the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Shanta Cain says she was taken aback Sunday when she received a letter from the city, which stated they would all have to move out by 11 a.m. Monday.

"They gave us no notice, and it was, like, in 24 hours you've got to be out of there," she says. "It was devastating to actually get that note saying, yeah we helped you guys, now you've got to go."

Later that night, tenants received another memo, changing course, which said they no longer had to leave by Monday. However, it provided no further timeline.

Bertisha Jones, with organization New Florida Majority, says they just want some transparency.

"Friday, they were told that they would be getting placement to know where they were going to be placed in long-term housing," she explains. "Instead of getting long-term housing on Monday, they got that letter."

Rodeway Inn & Suites says they are working with the city to continue the program, which was already extended from the original length.

"It was actually a 30 day program with the option to extend for another month, so they did extend for an entire month," Nadine Bankley, Director of Sales and Marketing for the hotel explains. "So they doubled the length of the program, plus a week."

The city issued a statement Monday morning that reads:

"The City of Fort Lauderdale has secured funding from the Governor's Office to continue to provide temporary housing to the homeless at the Rodeway Inn. The individuals being housed at the Rodeway Inn and the hotel staff have been informed that the program will not be ending today. All of the participants in the program are working with case managers who are coordinating referrals for them from mental health, medical, social service and other providers, while also working toward securing permanent housing. The City of Fort Lauderdale welcomes and encourages other local governments, organizations, and agencies to join us in this effort so we can continue to address this need in our communities."

At this point, there is no exact timeframe for when the people there have to move out.

Chaz Adams, spokesperson for the City, says, so far, more than $530,000 has been spent to cover the costs of "vouchers/temporary housing, meals, case managers, private security, and other expenses related to the program."

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