Forging A New Path to Help Homeless Families
Planned Giving – By Rachel Calderon
As families across Central Florida settle back into their school routines, many find themselves without a stable home to return to at the end of the day. While some children do homework at the kitchen table and moms prepare dinner in a well-stocked kitchen, their peers might be hunched over books in a crowded car that doubles as their bedroom, and their parents are wondering where they will find their next meal. This scenario is far too common, and we need to do more for the most vulnerable families in our area.
That is why Central Florida Foundation is proud to partner with the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and city and local governments to test a new solution.
Our pilot program, known as Impact Families, will test and evaluate a new system of care for homeless families in Orange and Osceola counties. Impact Families will focus on the root causes of family homelessness – housing stability, employment, and income.
After an intake process, families will be assigned to a Rapid Rehousing program. Then, they’ll be matched with a job placement coordinator through Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, who will assess their skills and connect them with job, education, and certification opportunities.
In addition, Homeless Services Network and the Corporation for Supportive Housing will convene a cohort of nonprofit organizations and local governments. The cohort will gather case managers, employment specialists, and other resource providers once a month over a one-year period. The partners will focus on a variety of topics relevant to their work, including trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, resource mapping, and case discussions. This effort will work to align service providers around the Housing First model as it relates to families.
Central Florida Foundation will manage and evaluate the grant-making for this pilot against criteria approved by the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. The Foundation has managed the investments in the Housing First initiative, with more than $7 million in contributions to the Homeless Impact Fund at the Foundation.
This pilot program signifies a culture shift in the way our community helps families. By aligning around a common purpose and combining our resources, expertise, and infrastructure, we can achieve a greater impact than what was possible before. Above all, we know that having a stable, safe, and nurturing place to live will make a profound difference for children and families in the community we all call home.