Raising hope by raising walls

Homeless programs

2,500 miles can’t deter our beloved friend and guest blogger, Dan Beckmann. Despite having been in Los Angeles, he still took the time to write about the monumental progress taking place at the Coalition today. We love that Dan continues to share our excitement about the new Men’s Service Center, regardless of where his day jobs take him. Take a look for yourselves…

The numbers are staggering.Coalition for the Homeless

Nearly 16% of us are now living either at or below the poverty line.  That’s $23,000 a year for a family of four.  Worse still, 1 out of 3 (about 100 million Americans) get by on an income just under twice that amount.

Across the country, the ranks of the poor are growing.  And here in Central Florida, the numbers aren’t any better.  This year, as many as 10,000 people will be homeless in our very own backyard.

Coalition for the Homeless provides services to over 750 people a day – more than 275 of which are children whose average age is 8 years old. This past fiscal year, the Coalition served nearly 4,400 people – an 11% increase from this time last year.

Every day we see homelessness.  Often, right before our eyes.  We may not recognize it, but the war on poverty has many arenas.  And today at the Coalition’s Men’s Service Center (MSC), our eyes witnessed an advancement in one underserved battlefront: homeless men.

Thanks to capital funding support from the City of Orlando and Orange County Government, the walls of the new MSC are being hoisted into place.

Because of the tight work space, APM Construction Corporation had been fabricating the exterior “Tilt Wall” panels on the horizontal since mid-May and stacking them atop of one Coalitionanother, some three high.  The heaviest nearly 85 tons!  But now, a mammoth crane has lifted the first of the 42-sandwiched slabs of concrete into place.  The exterior walls of the 33,000 sq. ft. structure are now taking shape.

Once completed, the new residential facility will accommodate 250 men at any one time. Case-managed services, mental health counseling referrals, life skills training in budgets and savings, job skills training, employment services and access to educational opportunities will all be available to help the men along their journey to independence.

Today, the walls of the MSC are being raised.  Not only to support the building, but to also raise the hopes for all of us that we can win this war on poverty so long as we support one another – one battle and one wall at a time.