P.O. Box 1253 Melbourne, FL 32903 info@hopeofbrevard.com 321.474.0966 - Fax: 321.575.0799

Phoenix Rising

Many think of homelessness as solely a consequence of choice: something that they can protect themselves from by making the “right” decisions about work, spending, and lifestyle. It’s easier to think of it in those terms because the reality of homelessness is much more complex and difficult than that. People can do all the “right” things, be “good” people, and still have tragedy strike without warning. That’s much harder to grapple with, as many true things in life are. However, when a community is strong, it is prepared to help everyone in their time of need. It shelters and works to protect its most vulnerable members regardless of the circumstances that brought them there. And from the ashes of hopelessness can grow the most beautiful futures- something we see time and time again in the families we work with. This is the story of one such family.

We were contacted early in December of 2020 by the Red Cross- a family’s home had burnt down and they’d lost everything. A family of six, with all four children under the age of thirteen were suddenly forced to start over. When one of our case managers got their file, they made a heartbreaking realization: this wasn’t the first time the family had been forced to start from scratch. They had worked with Community of Hope three years previously to secure their home thorough the Safe Overnight Stay (SOS) program. The family had built a stable life for themselves in their new home, and the kids were thriving in school. Until the fire. Until they had nothing once more.

We fortunately had an opening at one of our SOS properties, providing temporary shelter until a long-term solution could be discovered. With both time and effort by everyone involved, a house was identified as available and within the family’s budget. It was a feat made possible through the vital partnerships with local realtors and funding through the Path of Hope program that provided for the many move in costs. Utilities and household necessities were also provided in thanks to the generosity of the community.  The family had lost the home they’d worked so hard to build at the end of November, and with the assistance of both public and private organizations, were moved into their new home just in time for Christmas.

Homelessness is complicated. Generosity and compassion are not. We are all one community and this family’s story is a perfect example of what can come of seeing all the world as our neighborhood. Tragedy can strike at any time. It can steal many things from us. But nothing can take away love, hope, and the strength of our community when we work as one. Like the mythical phoenix, we too can rise from the ashes of adversity.

Together.

If you or someone you know works in the realty field and would like to partner with us, please contact us at info@hopeofbrevard.com so we can discuss opportunities to help more families like this one.

Following A Path of Hope

“Through the struggle, I saw times that were very dark and I couldn’t even see myself in what lied ahead the next day, but my I knew my kids deserved more, and that is where Community of Hope came to the rescue”

Sarah*

A true Floridian, Sarah* grew up in Northern Brevard raised by her father. The activities she witnessed by day and the sounds that haunted the darkness at night, lying in bed as a child, left her all too familiar with the dark side of society. As she grew and eventually became a mother herself, she would have flashbacks to her childhood and promised herself that her kids wouldn’t live with the same fear and uncertainty that she had.

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Building Blocks to Success

Moving Forward, One Step at a Time

Tiffanie is no stranger to the challenges of change. Having battled and maintained her sobriety after a history of substance abuse, she’d made the decision to turn her life toward a future where she could be the best mother she could to her children, J (12 years old) and N (4 years old). Since joining the Community of Hope family, she’d found stability that had been missing for most of her life and was determined to find a way to pay it forward to others who were facing similar battles.

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Finding Their Way Home

Finding Their Way Home

Family homelessness has become all too common as the global pandemic has withered finances and support options. For some, though, the stay-at-home orders have had an even darker effect: confining children and adults in abusive situations that school or work would otherwise have provided refuge from, and a limited number of emergency housing options to get out. One such family was referred to Community of Hope, a mother and four children who were living in their van. They’d been referred to our case manager Nicole for assistance through our Safe Overnight Stay (SOS) program by Brevard 2-1-1. Nicole reached out, and quickly realized that this was a family that both needed SOS placement and would be an ideal fit as Jen explained their situation, shame and sadness coloring her words.

Their story was unfortunately known all too well to so many families. Jen* had been in an abusive relationship, but with four children could not simply leave. The time came, though, that she knew that things could not continue the way they were and they had to escape. No matter the cost to her, she was going to protect her children. One day, while her boyfriend was at work, she packed a backpack for each child, placed it on their back along with the barest of supplies in their van, and headed out of town. With no clear idea of where she was going, all she knew was that she was that she could not go back- the only way was forward.

Not knowing what lie ahead and with very little money in her pocket, she drove and held onto her faith.  She arrived in Cocoa.  Shortly after doing so, she contacted 2-1-1 and with their guidance found employment as a cook/dishwasher.  It paid enough to put gas in their van, provide fast food meals, and a hotel a couple times a week to take showers… but no more. It kept them afloat, but would never be enough to save sufficient funds to move them all into their own place.

As Nicole moved them into the SOS unit in North Brevard, Jen was beyond thankful. The sound of her voice changed from sadness to having a glimmer of relief. Relief that her children would have a bed to sleep on and she would be able to cook a proper meal. She called Nicole to thank her over and over for just giving them this opportunity. As soon as they arrived, her kids went straight to the backyard and began playing - the parks had been closed due to Covid-19. She said she got to have a moment where their faces lit up, and for the first time in months, they got to be just that...kids.  Kids with no worries or stress.  Kids that were running around laughing and playing.

But the clock was ticking for the program, as it is designed to be a short term intervention that finds a longer term solution. They had stability but the work was just beginning. Jen and Nicole started a task list of things that needed to be done and from that created a plan of action.  They worked well and worked hard, together. During discouraging moments, Nicole would refocus Jen and tell her to take a deep breath and just pray.  Making contact several times a day, they checked off tasks one after another- including an assessment Nicole entered into the county-wide assistance database. Although no evictions or criminal history were on her record, Jen did not have the best credit history so finding a landlord that was willing to take a chance was one of the steepest barriers.

Nicole reached out to a landlord that she had made connections with in previous months, to see if he had anything available. As fate would have it, he had a property that was being remodeled and would be available the day that would mark Jen’s exit from SOS.  If that wasn’t amazing enough, the property was located right in the center of all three schools that the children were currently attending- close enough to walk to. It was a four bedroom home and the location was EXACTLY right where they needed! 

Jen took a ride over to view the property and she called me with excitement but didn’t let herself stay excited long, as the reality of not being 100% approved and not having the funds to move in leaving her hesitant to hope.  Nicole and the landlord spoke and she explained the situation more in depth and honestly, and without hesitation he agreed to help.  It was hers! The last hurdle was move-in funds. Nicole went to the CHAT Team, a cooperative group of homelessness prevention group made up of members from a variety of organizations, and requested an out of cycle approval for this family for funding assistance. With all of the families in need, it was a long shot, but within a few hours, the email came that they were APPROVED and had the funds to assist them to move into their home.  The lease was signed, however the sum total of their belongings were the few items that were still in the van.  Nicole reached out to friends, beginning a domino effect.  One person’s post on a local neighborhood board and brought communities together.  Crystal Lake and Wingate in Melbourne Beach, along with a few other local families gathered up bedroom furniture, bathroom necessitates- anything and everything to furnish a home.  They even went the extra mile to collect money for items that the family for needs that weren’t donated including gift cards for local groceries shops.

It took everyone pulling together to give this family the chance at a new life away from abuse and fear: Jen, Community of Hope, and the surrounding people who embraced them as neighbors.

*Name changed for privacy

February Family Spotlight

Life Can Change in an Instant

This month, we want to introduce you to one of the families we had the pleasure of serving through our Safe Overnight Stay (SOS) program. Click below to hear their story!

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2019 Impact Report

We are excited to offer our Annual Impact Report for 2019! Read More

Christmas Comes to Melbourne

Last Saturday, December 14th was the Community of Hope Christmas Party!  A celebration of community and the many gifts of the season, it was well attended by many of our families as well as member of the Board of Directors. A potluck meal was provided, while bites of food were mixed with visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Santa and Mrs. Claus greet families

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Q2 Director’s Message

Quarter 2

From the Desk of the Executive Director

September 20, 2019

Throughout my professional life, whether educating college students, counseling children and families, or now helping homeless families secure and stay in housing I have noticed a common theme: the more meaningfully connected a person is to others, the more likely they will have successful outcomes. 

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A Community of Stories

Here at Community of Hope, we are blessed to have many positive connections throughout Brevard County. Never was that more apparent than at our annual Gala, held at the Hilton Rialto. Members of the community and representatives from organizations far and wide came to support our mission and celebrate the many different ways we have worked together to touch the lives of countless families in need. Greg Pallone was the Master of Ceremonies, curating the event with charisma and aplomb. Read More

Camp Hope is a Go!

We are pleased to announce that Community of Hope’s application on behalf of Camp Hope for funds through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was accepted! The money will go towards this coming year’s Camp Hope programming, which begins its first session in December.

Playing outside: free time is really important… and a ton of fun too!

The CDBG’s primary objective is to provide help the community through housing, education, and revitalization programming. The initiatives should benefit low to moderately incomed families and individuals, with the purpose of providing services and opportunities that would not otherwise available to them. In supporting the most vulnerable members of our community, they support the community as a whole.

One of our campers exploring the Orlando Science Center on a community-sponsored field trip!

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