Impact Families: Our Next Mission

Rethink Homelessness on August 25, 2017

Families represent the largest population experiencing homelessness in our region. Recent data from our schools revealed that more than 10,000 school-age children were homeless in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties during the 2016-2017 school year.

Homelessness for these families has meant sleeping in their cars; couch-surfing with friends and neighbors; and staying in inexpensive motels. These options might keep a roof over a family’s heads; but it does not offer any kind of stability.

Earlier this month, Central Florida began the Impact Families pilot program, the next phase of our community’s shared mission to end homelessness by helping families stabilize through housing and jobs.

What is the purpose of Impact Families?

A family typically experiences homelessness in Central Florida because of housing instability (like a foreclosure), employment challenges (like losing a job), and inadequate income. A study of homeless families living in the hotels on the 192 corridor in Osceola County found that 64% of the parents surveyed were working – sometimes two or more jobs – but never earning enough to afford rental and utility deposits for an apartment.

By addressing the core underlying challenges faced by families in our region, the Impact Families pilot (fueled by a grant from the Walt Disney Company) aims to create a model program which will empower families to stabilize and break free of the cycle of homelessness.

What are the elements of Impact Families?

Housing and jobs are the two key elements of the Impact Families program.

Families will join the program through local homeless services partners in each community. After an intake process, a case manager works to rapidly rehouse the family to meet their immediate needs.

As the families begin to stabilize, a jobs placement coordinator from Goodwill Industries of Central Florida or other partners work with each adult to assess their skills and strengths and build an employment plan. From there, they will be connected to employment, education, and certification opportunities, with the goal of increasing their income and improving family stability.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To qualify for the Impact Families pilot program, a family must be literally homeless: living in the shelters, on the streets, or in a hotel paid for by an agency. Eligible families will have children under the age of 18 in their custody, and will be earning less than 50% of the region’s median income. Families will be prioritized for entry into the program based on vulnerability and level of need.

NOTE: While you or a family you know may not meet these requirements, if you are in need of support, please contact one of the agencies listed below. You may be eligible for other community services.

How do you (a family experiencing homelessness) participate in Impact Families?

A limited number of families will be approved for the pilot of the Impact Families program, and we hope to be able to help many more in the future.

To inquire about the program, please contact 2-1-1, a Goodwill location near you, or one of the following local homelessness services providers:

 

Orange Blossom Family Health Center
Fridays, 9am – 12pm
808 W Central Blvd
Orlando, FL 32805

United Against Poverty
1:30pm – 4:30pm
150 W Michigan Street, Suite A
Orlando, FL 32806

Community Hope Center of Osceola County
2198 Winds Blvd
Kissimmee, FL 34746

Northland Church
Mondays, 1:30 – 4pm
530 Dog Track Road
Longwood, FL 32751

Community Based Care
407-268-6363
http://www.pathwaystohome.org/apply-for-help

 

How can you (an individual or provider) get involved?

Are you a service provider? Do you want to financially support this work to help homeless families? With more support, we can make a difference in the lives of every homeless family in our region.

Contact the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness at 321-710-4663 or shelley@impacthomelessness.org to find out how you can help us Impact Families!

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