Helping homeless men – through the eyes of a storyteller

"Men's Service Center" "Coalition for the Homeless"

We are thrilled to welcome guest blogger, Dan Beckmann, who is lending his talents with monthly posts to chronicle the construction of our new Men’s Service Center.  Dan is a director of photography in Orlando and a former staff cameraman and editor for the Today Show.  He has been a journalist and storyteller for over 20 years for a variety of news and entertainment media.  He is also a wonderful friend to the Coalition.

Last month, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida broke ground on the new Men’s Service Center (MSC), which will replace the current Men’s Pavilion.  Today, as I walked around the construction site, a tractor moved debris over the spot where shiny, gold shovels ceremoniously dug up the first scoops of dirt.  

The two-story, 250-person capacity residential facility that will soon serve one of the most underserved segments of the homeless population – homeless men – is well underway.

Looking at the drawings of what’s to come, I’m reminded of what the Coalition stands for.  It isn’t just about being hungry or homeless; it’s about being wanted and cared for.  And with 33,000 square feet of new space, the MSC will be able to do that…and so much more.  

Homeless men will have access to dorm rooms, bunk beds, and a dining room.  Office spaces will be available for case managers and Coalition partners, who will be able to assist in educational opportunities, job training, substance abuse recovery programs, and mental health counseling.  

While the walls of the facility have yet to go up, the barriers in the community are already coming down.  Neighbors are realizing this new center will change lives.  And as the tractors move full steam ahead, plowing dirt, and transferring rubble, the MSC’s message of hope continues to make its way throughout the community.