Weekly Insights: The Homeless Children's Foundation
According to the Florida Department of Education, there were approximately 423 homeless students in Indian River County in the 2020-2021 school year. In 2015, the Homeless Children's Foundation (HCF) was created to provide sensible solutions for homeless families without duplicating existing services. Their mission is to fund and coordinate programs for homeless children to enable their healthy development and long term success while guiding their families to self-sufficiency. HCF helps families navigate local resources and provides programs for children, so parents know their children are being cared for while they are working.
HCF's core programs include spring, summer, and winter camp, before and after school programs, and case management. All parents are provided one-on-one time with a Case Manager. During these meetings, parents can sign their children up for programs and work on barriers to becoming self-sufficient. This may include resume assistance, looking for employment or affordable housing, or seeking resources. The Homeless Children's Foundation's focus is providing children with opportunities and supporting parents and setting goals in order to change the outcome.
HCF Success Stories:
Whitney and her two-year-old daughter were kicked out by her abusive boyfriend when she was eight months pregnant. She had no friends or family in the area to support her, so she was forced to live on the streets. HCF caseworkers built a team of Family Support Workers and Case Managers from other local agencies to provide help for this mother in her desperate need. She received help with motel funding, food, mental health services and parenting support. A volunteer rode the public bus with her one day to teach her the routes. In spite of the long bus rides, Whitney brought her two daughters to Childcare Resources every single day which allowed her to return to work. The two daughters flourished in the program and met their development milestones. She recently made the decision to move to Orlando to share an apartment with a friend, a positive outcome for her. HCF connected Whitney to resources in that county to create a seamless transition.
In 2019, Sasha noticed that her apartment had a really bad smell from a water leak. She and her four daughters became constantly sick and experienced breathing issues due to the mold. Her property manager turned down a request to be moved into a different unit and a new paint job was all that was offered. She did not feel that she could afford to move, because her apartment was in a low income development. Eventually, the mold was growing on the children's clothing and the furniture. After two years, management finally agreed to move her saying that it would only take a week to rehab the new unit. Sasha agreed and moved into a motel with her children. Unfortunately, the date kept being pushed back and the disruption caused her to lose her job. Now she was homeless, bouncing around while waiting three months for the apartment. HCF placed the children in enrichment programs and camps, helped her secure motel funding, search for housing and find employment. With the help of HCF, she secured $4,500 from a CARES Act rehousing program and was able to move into a 2 bedroom apartment in April.
*Names changed to protect the identity of HCF clients.
Weekly Insights works in conjunction with Indian River Indicators. Indian River Indicators was launched in June 2021 and originated after the completion of the 2019 Indian River Community Needs Assessment. It provides key data and information about our community that is updated annually and can be used to support and sustain proven programs. It can also be used by community leaders to develop policy, promote promising practices and inspire innovation that can lead to solutions to persistent community challenges. Indian River Community Foundation holds informational sessions on the first Tuesday of every month at 4pm via Zoom to introduce the community to this new resource. Please email Director of Philanthropy, Chiaka Nwosu at firstname.lastname@example.org to attend a session.
To learn more visit www.ircommunityfoundation.org and click “Indian River Indicators” or contact a member of the Community Foundation’s team at 772.492.1407.