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Pathways extends into Osceola to help curb child homelessness

Posted on Monday, July 17, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Jennifer DiDomenico
For the News-Gazette
Pathways to Home, a program designed to eliminate child homelessness, is expanding from Seminole County to Orange and Osceola counties.
It’s expected to more than double its capacity to help less-fortunate families in Central Florida.
According to 2017 estimates, there are as many as 1,572 homeless households with children in Central Florida.
Managed by Community Initiatives, part of the Community Based Care of Central Florida, Pathways to Home prioritizes immediate shelter and long term stability for families in and on the verge of homelessness.
Since established as a multi-agency, Pathways to Home has served more than 415 families, including 1,087 children.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of public and private support to end individual and veteran homelessness, but families are still getting left behind – with devastating effects on children,” said Glen Casel, CEO of Community Based Care of Central Florida. “Ensuring the safety and stability of kids must be a top priority. We’re grateful for those who have stepped forward to help, and we’re calling on the community to do more.”
Additionally, the program recently received $135,000 in funding through the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida for three new case managers, allowing Pathways to Home to expand its annual caseload from 50 to 125 families across the tri-county area.
Case managers follow a strengths-based model following an initial assessment, tapping into a family’s existing support network and working with each family to implement customized plans to create more secure, self-sufficient lives.
Customized plans for families include efforts such as helping find permanent housing (often interacting with local landlords to expedite the process), vocational training and job-search assistance, connecting families to resources for food stamps and Medicaid, and partnering with local school districts to ensure a child’s education.
Pathways to Home’s greatest need is for “bridge housing”— an act that assists families with temporary hotel lodging while they secure long-term rental housing.
PNC Bank is the program’s newest corporate partner to help. With a recent grant of $5,000, PNC Bank is helping to ensure safe shelter for families throughout Central Florida’s tri-county region, as well as aiding families with financial literacy sessions.
“PNC Bank appreciates Pathways to Home’s consistent track record of successfully securing housing and educating vulnerable families on financial independence,” said Victor Avila, PNC community development banking manager for Central Florida. “Our grant for bridge housing signals how much PNC believes in providing immediate shelter for unstably housed families. We consider our financial support a strategic investment in the community, and we’re committed to helping build a solid foundation for the future of this local economy.”
For more information on Pathways to Home, visit www.PathwaystoHome.org.

 


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