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Broward Homeless Shelter Founder May End Emergency Service

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Jeff Cononie   (source: Jeff Conomie)

Jeff Cononie (source: Jeff Conomie)

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HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – Dozens of men, women and children who rely on the shelters in Broward operated by The Homeless Voice for a place to stay could find themselves back out on the street.

“I’m a single dad, I’m in sales, I’ve always worked, but sales have been terrible and I became homeless with my children,” said Glenn Sadlofsky.

Sadlofsky and his two sons are grateful they have a roof over their heads at a Homeless Voice shelter.

“No one would help us. We were homeless and Sean (Cononie) took us in,” said Sadlofsky.

But that could change. The Homeless Voice Shelters may close to emergency cases.

Cononie, who founded the Homeless Voice shelters, said several South Florida cities have enacted bans against street vendors which essentially prohibits them selling their “Homeless Voice Newspaper” on the street.

In October 2012, Cononie filed a suit against Pembroke Pines over their ban on soliciting on roadways, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Coral Springs, Hollywood, Miramar and Cooper City have similar bans.

Cononie said the sale of the newspaper is their main source of funding.

“We can’t operate an emergency level shelter without the paper, it’s out of business.  We can’t do it, it’s impossible,” said Cononie. “It costs a lot of money to operate an emergency level shelter.”

Right now, the nine shelters Cononie operates in Broward house nearly 400 people a night; the biggest shelter is in Hollywood. He said his doors are open to everyone and that’s expensive.

“Basically we take the people no one wants; we’re basically the dumping grounds for Broward County,” said Cononie.

Cononie said if the cities and the county want him to continue to take in those in need; they’re going to have to figure something out. He said they should either grant him an exemption and let his people sell the paper on their streets or they should start paying him to house the homeless.

“They have 60 days to come up with a plan to save the shelter or the emergency level shelter goes out of business,” said Cononie.

Cononie said at this point he plans to keep taking care of the people who are currently in the shelter, but after 60 days he’ll have to see how much money he has left.

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