BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: new Men’s Service Center at the Coalition
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty jointly announced a significant investment in the programs and services at Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. The capital funding support they are providing will enable the Coalition to construct a new Men’s Service Center on its property at 639 West Central Blvd. We are incredibly excited about this new initiative because it will allow us to offer much-needed case management and supportive services to one of the most underserved segments of the homeless population – homeless men.
Using federal funds from their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs, Orange County will invest $5 million over an approximately 2½ year design and construction period; and the City of Orlando will invest $1.6 million over a two-year period. This generous funding support will allow for the construction of a two floor, residential facility that will accommodate up to 250 men in dorm rooms. A dining/multi-purpose room is planned, along with offices for case managers and for community partners who can deliver services on-site. This proposed facility sharply contrasts the current shelter available to single men at the Coalition: they sleep on a concrete floor on mats, without AC, and can be offered little more than a meal and a place to sleep.
Similar to the Coalition’s programs for homeless women and families with children, the new Men’s Service Center will be able to provide residential, case-managed services to assist men on their journey to self-sufficiency (again, this is currently not available to single men unless they are involved in our First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery Program). Planned services include: access to mental health counseling referrals; life skills training such as budgeting and savings; job skills training; access to educational opportunities; employment services; and health care referrals. The Coalition will house its men’s First Steps program in the new facility and will begin working on collaborations and partnerships to help provide an array of services to the homeless male population.
Coalition President/CEO Brent Trotter, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty, and District 5 City Commissioner Daisy W. Lynum all spoke in support of this substantial investment in the Coalition’s ability to serve homeless men. Ed Timberlake, Managing Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, also voiced the Commission’s backing of this major step in the region’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.
Construction of this amazing facility is projected to start in 2010 and will take at least one year to complete. Our blog will follow the development of the construction and opening of the new Men’s Service Center, so stay tuned!