Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unemployed Say They Want Jobs Lack of Address Hinders the Hunt

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unemployed Say They Want Jobs Lack of Address Hinders the Hunt

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- At the Mission House, the Beaches organization that feeds the homeless and helps them with drug and alcohol rehabilitation as well as job placement, homeless people say the problems that merchants and residents complain about are caused by a small number of people.

But they say the complaints have given police and restaurant patrons free license to harass and taunt all of the Beaches homeless.

Marcos Losoya, who moved from San Antonio a year ago to get away from his past life of drugs and trouble, has not been able to find a job other than temporary work at the day labor pools. The 37-year-old, who was recently taken in by a minister, said he'd like to work a full-time job but Beaches businesses don't pay enough.

"The businesses, they refuse to pay me what I'm worth," he said, explaining that the salaries they offer aren't enough to make ends meet or even think about getting an apartment. And work through the labor pools isn't always steady.

Mission House has been trying to place him in a job for the last year, but Lasoya said that has not led to any prospects.

While he said he doesn't panhandle, Lasoya said he doesn't begrudge some of his friends who do so to survive. He and others said the police hassle the homeless on the boardwalk because they are perceived to be an easy target.

"We have to come to some sort of conclusion with the homeless," said one homeless man known on the streets as "Taz." "The police and the City Council and the homeless all need to work together."

A Vietnam veteran and former construction worker, Taz said he has been disabled since 1995 after a work site injury in which he fell 45 feet and injured his back.

He said he's applied for jobs and filled out countless applications, but none of the businesses will hire him either because he's homeless or because of his injury. …

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