Pilot program aims to help 10K homeless children in Orange, Osceola counties

ORANGE OCUNTY, Fla. — A new program in Orange and Osceola counties will aim to get 10,000 homeless children into a stable environment.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs helped launch Impact Families, a pilot program that takes a new approach to helping those in need.

“If we don’t help our children, we’re creating generations of poverty and homelessness,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said it’s the most inclusive program she’s ever been a part of.

“You cannot underestimate the value of a stable home,” said Jacobs.

Impact Families aims to tackle the problem of student homelessness Orange and Osceola counties through two main fronts: housing and employment.

A number of organizations are coming together, including the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and Housing, Goodwill Industries and several faith-based organizations.

Joel Hunter, the pastor of Northland Church, said it’s not just about giving people money.

“Part of the whole response is something faith communities have in abundance, which is people who will walk alongside you through this trouble,” he said.

Each family that signs up will be evaluated to assess its needs. The family will then be placed in emergency housing and set up with a team of people to help the parents get training, find a job and a more stable home.

“So the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness has a scorecard, which we’ll be able to watch very closely and make adjustments as we go,” said Mark Brewer, CEO of the Central Florida Foundation.

The pilot program will be tracked carefully to see how successful families are, not just in the short term but months down the line.

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