The Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida met Friday with a panel focused on solving the problem of homelessness among veterans once and for all.

The panel consisted of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness Andrae Bailey, and psychiatrist Dr. Paul Deci. The trio broke down the challenges and misconceptions involved with homeless vets, and discussed the recent “surge” that involved hundreds of volunteers going into the community, identifying those in need, and leading them to help.

Present at the meeting was David Williams, a veteran of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, who was homeless for 17 years. He described his experience to the audience and how the Commission on Homelessness identified and helped him. Those in attendance then gave him a standing ovation .

Orlando and Orange County have both accepted a challenge from the White House to eliminate veteran homelessness in the region by the end of the year. Dyer said he believes it will happen.

“There is no more important need,” the three-term Democratic mayor said. “We’ve had unparallelled success: Now is our time, and this is our window to finally end solve this problem.”

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