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Parts of Hernando County Beginning to Look Like Streets of L.A. and Seattle

SPRING HILL – Deputies were called to an abandoned Regions Bank at Mariner Blvd and Cortez Blvd this afternoon, where a campsite was established under the old drive-through canopy.

Deputies were observed talking with the individuals and running warrant checks, but it is unknown if the subjects were forced to leave.

Scenes like these are becoming more common as the homeless population grows and development pushes them out of woodlines and vacant lots.

The cost to rent a home in Hernando County has more than doubled and there aren’t many high-paying jobs available to the growing population. Those who live on fixed incomes or make low wages are forced to reside with several roommates or family members to make ends meet. For many families in Hernando County, homelessness is just one missed paycheck away.

With very few resources available for shelter and food, retail thefts and burglaries have begun to skyrocket.

Many of the homeless suffer from mental health problems and drug and alcohol addiction, and that leads to the potential for more violent crime. Earlier this month 81-year-old Ed Meade was brutally stabbed to death while standing guard outside the Highpoint Subdivision. The suspect was a homeless man who lived in his car that was parked at the Walmart on Cortez Blvd. Officials have not commented on a possible motive for the heinous crime.

Homelessness in Hernando County is growing at an exponential rate and residents are asking what elected officials are going to do to prevent the community from looking like the streets of Los Angeles and Seattle.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office does not collect data on homeless interactions and Sheriff Nienhuis has not responded to our requests for comment.


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