The Issue: Homelessness in Palm Beach County
On any given day in Palm Beach County, as many as 3,228 people are experiencing homelessness, according to a 2011 report by the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County. The same report also states that Palm Beach County ranks fifth in the state for the largest number of students living in transitional or emergency shelters, FEMA trailers, or abandoned in hospitals. Yet the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County has a plan: a 10-year plan to end homelessness created by experts and already four years underway. The members of the coalition believe that homelessness can be ended.
The Campaign: Comforting Those Seeking Shelter
If 35 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County can distribute 14 comfort kits to individuals experiencing homelessness who arrive at its resource center. The comfort kits—packed in a durable cloth tote or backpack—supply age-appropriate clothing and toiletries for children, teens, and adults. Contents can include shampoo, socks, underwear, cans of soup, a warm blanket, baby wipes, a coloring book, and other essentials. Each additional $50 raised will supply a comfort kit for two more individuals experiencing homelessness.
Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County
At the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County’s resource center, the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center, more than 360 individuals experiencing homelessness arrived seeking refuge and safety in the first 30 days it was open. Often, these individuals—who may be children, teens, or adults—arrive with everything they own in a garbage bag. Today the coalition hopes to provide each such visitor with a warm welcome that includes a simple, sturdy cloth tote bag or backpack full of the small necessities that may comfort a child or teen, or restore the dignity and self-respect of an adult.
The center—a one-stop resource for housing assistance and provisions for individuals experiencing homelessness—is but a piece of a larger 10-year plan to end homelessness in Palm Beach County. The coalition actively partners with the County and Homeless Advisory Board in pinpointing cracks in current programs and identifying the practical steps necessary to prevent and sustainably end homelessness long term.
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