“We don’t want to just help a few homeless people. We want to solve homelessness.”
A member at Citrus Club, Orlando, Fla., since 2012
BY ALEX ETHRIDGE / PHOTO BY RIKU — Summer 2016
Who he is: As president and CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, based in Orlando, he works with business executives, faith leaders, and elected city officials to create effective methods to end homelessness in the region.
Starting point: The best approach to ending homelessness, he says, is to first help people get back into housing, before using resources to create jobs or build temporary shelters. “That housing might only be 400 square feet, but until you have a stable roof over your head and have your own sense of privacy and safety, you can’t begin anything else.”
Real change: Through this strategy, the commission helps place the area’s chronically homeless — including more than 1,200 veterans in the last three years — in existing housing.
Success stories: “One man we placed said, ‘I feel human again.’ Many can now hold part-time jobs. Many are reunited with friends and family. Their whole lives change.”