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Vagrancy is hot topic in Jacksonville Beach

7:05 PM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Vagrancy and crime downtown is a problem this beach community wants to address before it gets out of hand.

Homelessness is the topic of a workshop the city is holding with all interested parties on Wednesday night to see what, if anything, can be done.

The homeless population is a very fluid number, estimated to be between 100 and 300. 

"There are those taking advantage of the situation and I see that everyday," said Sonny Bhikha, who operates three hotels in Jacksonville Beach.

He said it's not uncommon for homeless to come in the lobby for breakfast and harass customers. Bhikha said the homeless who want and are getting help are not the problem.

Lori Anderson at the Mission House agrees. This resource provides counseling and two meals a day for an average of 70 people daily.

"We cannot help those who don't want to help themselves and the million dollar questions is what do we do with those folks," said Anderson, who plans to be part of Wednesday night's discussion.

Mike, who is homeless, said he is really not aware of any major problem.

Mike, who asked that his last name not be used, said,"I just don't want to cause problems for nobody, nobody knows where I am at."

The workshop will be held in the council chambers of City Hall on Wednsday starting at 6:30 p.m.  

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