Friday, June 16, 2017
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic
This weekday program, which is an important component in Camillus’ system of care, provides street homeless men and women with meals, engagement activities, clothing, showers and mail services. Since 2003, the Day Center had been funded to serve 150 persons daily through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. That funding was lost last year as part of a package of funding cuts to the local homeless system of care. The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust then stepped in to cover the gap in funds until June 30th of this year.
“The Day Center has been a lifeline to people on the street for more than a decade, while also serving as a gateway to shelter and employment services,” said Alan Greer, chairman of the Camillus House Board of Directors. “For many homeless people still living on the street, we are their only source for showers and clean clothes, mail and other important services.”
Thanks to a combination of public and private grants and donations, including generous support from the City of Miami and the Downtown Development Authority, Camillus House is announcing that the program will continue operating for at least another year, serving at least 100 men and women each day. The goal is to serve more.
“It really has taken the efforts of both the public and private sectors to keep this program operating,” said Daniel Alfonso, City Manager for the City of Miami. “But when you consider that on average there are more than 4,000 entries into the program each month, its impact – and need – is undeniable.”
Miami Downtown Development Authority Chair and City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell explained, “This program is incredibly valuable and the loss of the services it provides would have been devastating. It is our role as the City and the DDA to step up to care for our most vulnerable residents. I am glad we were able to help.”
Camillus House continues to reach out to the business and philanthropic community for potential funding to help increase the number of persons being served each day and, more importantly, to support its long-term sustainability. A GoFundMe campaign has been established to encourage wider community support and donations. More information on this fundraising initiative can be found at www.gofundme.com/camillushousemiami.
“Every little bit counts and goes such a long way,” added Greer. “Turning anyone away is so difficult. We appreciate the support we have received so far and we know our clients do as well.”