Lead­ers to ad­dress home­less issues

New ini­tia­tive calls for per­ma­nent hous­ing for those in need

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MONEY - By Mar­cia Her­oux Pounds Staff writer

Con­cerns about the home­less and their po­ten­tial im­pact on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment have led the Greater Fort Laud­erdale Al­liance to part­ner with the United Way of Broward County on a new ini­tia­tive: United We End Home­less­ness.

Dur­ing its mid-year meet­ing on Thurs­day, the Al­liance an­nounced for­ma­tion of the group and its lead­ers: Au­toNa­tion Chair­man and CEO Mike Jack­son and Cas­tle Group CEO James Don­nelly.

Although jobs are be­ing cre­ated at a rapid pace in Broward County, un­em­ploy­ment and home­less­ness re­main trou­bling issues, ac­cord­ing to the Al­liance. “I look out my win­dow, and the econ­omy is boom­ing. I count 15 cranes. As I walk around Fort Laud­erdale and drive around Broward, my heart aches when I see the home­less sit­u­a­tion,” Jack­son said. “I know a lot is be­ing done, but my sense is it’s just not enough.”

Bob Swindell, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Al­liance, said Au­toNa­tion con­sid­ered leav­ing down­town Fort Laud­erdale be­fore re­cently recom­mit­ting to lease its build­ing at 200 SW First Ave. Au­toNa­tion is the na­tion’s largest auto re­tailer with 750 at its head­quar­ters and more than 3,500 em­ploy­ees in South Florida.

Swindell said Jack­son told him he was con­cerned about the home­less sit­u­a­tion. “Mike said, ‘My em­ploy­ees’ qual­ity of life dur­ing the day has re­ally plum­meted. This is an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is­sue. You’re go­ing to lose busi­nesses in down­town Fort Laud­erdale,’ ” Swindell re­called Jack­son telling him dur­ing a meet­ing in Novem­ber 2016.

Jack­son said con­sid­er­ing other sites was just part of the de­ci­sion process on whether to re­new its lease with Stiles Corp., which it




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