As conditions continue to diminish at Kissimmee’s Star Motel, Osceola County’s Human Services Department is working to secure safe accommodations for the property’s residents in partnership with local organizations.
Community Hope Center, Homeless Services Network and Health Care Center for the Homeless have been working with families that continue to live at the Star Motel without power or water.
Over the previous days, the county worked with the Community Hope Center to secure accommodations for families with children, providing the funding for the rehousing. Even as 14 families have been relocated to other area hotels, additional families and individuals still need to be transitioned from the Star Motel. For those residents that are willing to accept assistance, the County’s Human Services team will continue to work with area nonprofits to secure stable dwellings.
“We appreciate our local nonprofits that have stepped up to help these residents in dire situations at the Star Motel, and we are thankful the County was able to partner with them to place families into safer, healthier living conditions this week,” said Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer. “However, we know there is more work to be done and help that is needed for others in similar circumstances. We ultimately want to help these homeless families become self-sufficient to improve their overall quality of life for years to come.”
The county’s Human Services staff has been going to the Star Motel and neighboring Lake Cecile Inn and Suites to provide assistance since December 2019. In previous months alone, the county has conducted two major trash removal efforts at both properties, including the removal of abandoned vehicles. Additionally, vacant rooms that could not be secured at Lake Cecile Inn and Suites were boarded up, and the same process will be done at Star Motel.
“The county is committed to the well-being of our residents and believe everyone deserves a safe place to call ‘home’,” said Osceola Commission Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Grieb. “Affordable housing is a basic need for our community and the County continues to seek solutions and identify opportunities to establish stable living situations for more families in transition.”
Additionally, the county’s Human Services department set up a phone extension hotline for the families to call if they are in need of assistance. That number has been provided to those impacted.
The problems at Star Motel and Lake Cecile Inn and Suites began before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Osceola County, with the property owner failing to pay utilities. Star Motel currently owes $14,827 to Kissimmee Utility Authority (electricity) and $90,118 to Toho Water Authority (water).