WHAT IS A COMPREHENSIVE DAY SERVICES CENTER?
Several years ago, Orlando was identified as the largest American city without a Comprehensive Day Services Center for adults experiencing homelessness. Why does that matter today?
As homelessness continues to rise and affordable housing remains scarce across Central Florida, dealing with the “homeless problem” is quickly becoming a tier 1 emergency that requires solutions-based services. Imagine a three-legged stool. As it relates to addressing homelessness, a comprehensive day services facility is the third, vital leg along with the other two: shelter and outreach.
About ten years ago, the City of Orlando made the creation of a day services center a priority and approached our board of directors with the request to adapt our campus and fill this role due to the CSC’s longtime presence in the Downtown corridor where there is a high concentration of homeless population, as there is in every major metropolitan area.
Beginning in the Fall of 2020, we began the process of getting estimates, consulting with vendors, and completing necessary paperwork with the City. Rather than wait around for funding, we started inviting other agencies to our campus that actually do services like showers and laundry, or a dinner program.
“Orlando was also the largest city to not have a place where people can walk in and say, ‘I’m homeless and don’t know what to do,’” according to Executive Director Eric Gray. “We are now the robust front door for newly homeless and long-term homeless alike to enter into the system of care or update their status.”
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Day Services Case Statement
We are getting unsheltered adults off the public streets in the hundreds, reducing loitering, blight and scam artists and dealers who work to take advantage of them. We are a low-barrier campus with solutions-based programs. The campus isn't a hangout, but an entry point to lift adults & children out of homelessness- over 3,655 rescued since 2021.
Next Phases to Include: security kiosk, new fencing, outdoor table seating, support groups, benefits assistance, ADA Showers, storage, mailboxes, employment training and MENTAL HEALTH.