25 years of providing hope for the homeless
Coalition for the Homeless marks its 25th Anniversary this year! Although homelessness remains a serious issue in Central Florida, it is truly amazing what 25 years of continued community support can accomplish. Take a quick trip through history with us…
- As homelessness became a growing issue in Orlando during the 1970’s, the Christian Service Center coordinated a cold nights program to house the homeless in Downtown Orlando churches.
- In 1985, the First United Methodist Church of Orlando began allowing homeless individuals to seek shelter in their courtyard and joined with other downtown interfaith organizations to address the issue of homeless men in our community.
- By 1986, the First United Methodist Church of Orlando opened its fellowship hall to homeless individuals. The church provided a space on the floor to sleep, as well as breakfast and dinner.
- Then, in 1987, Coalition for the Homeless of Orlando, Inc. (renamed Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Inc. in 1990) incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization!
- Now, fast forward 25 years to today. After making great strides, expanding our resources, services, and community support, the Coalition has become the largest provider of homeless services – not only for men, but for women and families with children as well – in Central Florida.
We provide food and shelter, as well as housing options, educational opportunities, support services, comprehensive children’s services, and case management – all focused on returning homeless men, women, and families with children to independence.
Connie Dean, a Coalition staff member of 20 years, shared how she has seen the Coalition grow, “When I started working here, the Center for Women and Families didn’t exist and the upcoming Men’s Service Center was just talk.” She can remember when 75 spaces to sleep on the floor and a few meals each day were the extent of services for homeless families with children. “I don’t feel like I’ve been here for that long,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
In the past 10 years alone, the Coalition has provided services to more than 50,000 individuals, over 8,000 who were children.
Please, join us in celebrating 25 years of providing hope. Keep your eyes out for 25th Anniversary fundraising campaigns, volunteer initiatives, news, and more!