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City of Pensacola seeks professional advice for homelessness

PENSACOLA   --  The city of Pensacola is seeking expert advice on how to best deal with the current homeless population.

The city is considering paying homeless consultant, Doctor Robert Marbut nearly 6,000 dollars for at least four months to research the area's homeless and find a solution.
   
The EscaRosa Coalition on the homeless reported 949 homeless people in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties last year.

There are hundreds of homeless men and women in Pensacola and now the City Council is willing to bring in an expert to help tackle the problem.

Pensacola city leaders are getting serious about the homeless population in the area. The city council formed a task force on improving human services and plans to enlist the help of Dr. Robert Marbut.

Marbut is a consultant who has worked on homeless issues for more than 30 years, and has helped cities across the country reduce homelessness.

Larry Johnson, Pensacola City Councilman, says, "I don't feel we need to reinvent the wheel, I think what we need to do is see what has worked in other communities, and try to apply it here in Pensacola."

Rick Dye is a local advocate for the homeless. He believes seeking expert advice is a big step for the city.

Dye has seen what Dr. Marbut can do already, as he helped Panama City  with its homeless population.

Dye says, "It takes a community, to raise a homeless person out of homelessness."

The city is considering  paying Marbut a monthly consulting fee of 5,961 dollars a month, for four months, to research the homeless issue.

Marbut would then present a final list of recommendations, to help reduce the number of homeless.

At that point, it would be up to local leaders  to follow through with those recommendations.

Dye says, "Once he gives them the prescription of what to do, they've got to have the backbone and the will to do it."

The Pensacola City Council will be discussing bringing in Dr. Marbut at its upcoming council meeting.