Central Florida Commission on Homelessness
CENTRAL FLORIDA LEADERS LAUNCH THE WELCOME HOME PROJECT
ORLANDO, FL., November 21, 2017 – On Tuesday, November 21, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez, Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, Central Florida Commission on Homelessness Chair-Elect Dr. David Swanson, Homeless Services Network of Central Florida Executive Director Martha Area, and Florida Hospital Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Griffin will announce a joint initiative called “The Welcome Home Project.” This project will house 129 chronically homeless individuals between November 21, 2017 and March 31, 2018 by bringing landlords, prospective tenants, and the community together.
Of the 129, 94 are from Orange County, 22 are from Seminole County, and 13 are from Osceola County. The individuals to be housed through this program have case management, wrap-around services, funding for housing, but no home to call their own.
The Welcome Home Project will address this identified need through a two-pronged approach: piloting a new strategy for housing location and landlord recruitment as well as raising funds for move-in costs. The partners will enhance existing efforts by raising public awareness on the lack of available affordable housing, conducting peer to peer sales, and organizing a direct mail campaign to prospective landlords. The City of Orlando has provided a $500 incentive to landlords who house clients of the population from the City of Orlando and Orange County. An additional $500 is available to that same landlord after the client stays continuously housed over the next six months. The second focus of the Welcome Home Project will be the crowdfunding of the $2,500 per individuals necessary to cover move-in costs including furnishings, utility deposits, and pest control incurred once suitable housing has been identified.
“This is a broad, community-based effort,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Mayor Alvarez, Mayor Triplett, and I, as mayors of the largest cities in each of Central Florida’s three counties, stand united in our resolve to find homes for our most vulnerable community members. They cannot afford to wait any longer for a safe place to sleep every night.”
Shelley Lauten, CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, said, “We must come together as a community to bring each and every one of these individuals home. Today, the lives of 129 people hang in the balance. I do not view them as homeless; I view them as homeworthy, just like you or me.”
“Landlords are the key to unlocking the future of our community because we know the Housing First model works,” said Martha Are, Executive Director of Homeless Services Network of Central Florida. “We are excited to pilot a set of best practices which will significantly increase the number of individuals we can get off the streets and into stable, permanent housing.”
The public announcement of The Welcome Home Project will occur on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at noon in the rotunda at the Orlando City Hall. Press availability will follow.
About Central Florida Commission on Homelessness
The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness in Central Florida—making homelessness for our neighbors rare, brief and one-time. Through research, strategic policy development, collaborative leadership engagement, and high-impact grassroots campaigns, the Commission has made significant headway in informing and inspiring our community to act on the issues facing homeless Veterans, families, youth, and other homeless individuals.
About The Homeless Services Network of Central Florida (HSN)
Established in 1992, HSN serves as the lead agency for the Continuum of Care of homeless services in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, including the cities of Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford. The non-profit administers more than 30 grants to agencies providing services to homeless households in our continuum region. Program funds provide permanent housing and support services including case management and street outreach. For more information visit www.hsncfl.org.