Commissioner donates commission salary to help homeless - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Commissioner donates commission salary to help homeless

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By Suzanne Boyd email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - Most people would agree that homelessness is a serious problem in Palm Beach County.

But would most people agree to give up their paycheck to do something about it?

One local commissioner did just that. County Commissioner Jess Santamaria may be a successful businessman, but nonetheless, he has pledged his entire commission salary: $92,000 to the Lord's Place which is a charity for the homeless. "I'm willing to put my entire pay for this year to supporting them."

Santamaria made that pledge during Tuesday's commission meeting.

As the board approved the county's 10-year plan to end homelessness perhaps even more radical than donating his salary.

Commissioner Santamaria wants to explore the possibility of forcing landowners, builders and special interest groups to pledge a percentage of their profits to the problem whenever they get a land use change or rezoning that increases their property value.

They purchase agriculture land, and they're rezoning it for residential or commercial, and we're enriching them.

Why shouldn't they contribute part of that windfall profit toward a program such as this? Santamaria plans to bring up the idea at a commission workshop.

The county's homelessness plan includes several resource centers that would provide services and a small number of shelter beds.

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