In January of 2013, there were over 2,500 individuals and families in Palm Beach County that were considered homeless, including the displaced and the un-sheltered.
These people, including business professionals, students, veterans and entire families, come from all walks of life and are in this situation for a variety of reasons. Many of us are fortunate enough not to be going down the same path and have the means to help those who are going through tough times.
The Homeless Outreach Action Committee is active in giving the area's homeless population a hand up. Some of the initiatives they have taken include laundry services, hot showers, haircuts, meals, bicycles, grooming kits and more. The ultimate goal is to get everyone "off the streets" and into permanent housing, but in the meantime, they are just trying to help these unfortunate people feel human again, and that they belong in modern society.
In January of 2013, John Runhaar established the Shower & Laundry program at First United Methodist Church in Downtown Boca Raton. It was set up to address the growing hygienic needs of some of the homeless participants of their "Celebrate Recovery" program, a weekly gathering of individuals battling addiction.
In February 2013, Ms Anne Cann was brought on board to explore expansion of homeless services. Ms Cann has extensive experience in community outreach and was very familiar with many of the area's chronically homeless population. With the financial and social support of a prominent area businessman, the Homeless Outreach Action Committee was formed which multiplied the availability of services and the coordination of efforts between the committee and other community organizations.
What began as a once-a-week shower & laundry program has expanded with the support of prominent community members and area religious organizations to meal programs and allowed us to begin addressing the specific needs of the individuals, including substance abuse treatment, job placement, family reunification and more!
OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Our vision for the future is to establish a day center and establish housing stability.
A day center would help us provide:
- shower and laundry facilities + hygiene supplies
- supplemental meals
- storage lockers and mailboxes
- access to mentoring and counseling (case management
Our goals for housing include:
- transitional housing and assistance for work-ready individuals
- long-term support for the disabled and mentally ill
- promoting dignity through providing single-occupancy bedrooms