RUSH Project Update - More than 51 Families Housed Since March
Updated: Nov 8
August marked three years since our first nonprofit partners joined the Parramore, Ocoee, and Winter Park campuses and since we began directly placing people experiencing homelessness into housing, as well as significantly ramping up our efforts to help families avoid eviction.
Recognizing and supporting our evolution into the Orlando area’s Comprehensive Day Services Center, in March the City of Orlando awarded the Christian Service Center up to $617,000 in reimbursable, federal grant funding for us to focus on moving unsheltered people, especially families with children, out of tents along the streets in the Parramore neighborhood and into more permanent housing.
We call this project RUSH for Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing, and a goal was set to move 20 families out of homelessness this year. It is a laborious, case-by-case effort to identify candidates that we can walk alongside with for several months to help them on a path to self-sufficiency, sometimes placing them temporarily in hotels until affordable housing can be obtained.
Six months into the RUSH project, and we are pleased to report that we have already housed 51 families. That’s 118 people, 51 of them children, that were sleeping on the streets in Parramore who are no longer homeless.
Young families like Raymond Caulton’s. His family was the first we helped through RUSH. He and his longtime partner Desirae moved from Columbus, Georgia with their two-year-old daughter to find more job opportunities and a better life in Orlando. When things didn’t work out as fast as they hoped, they ended up living in a tent near Downtown Orlando. We were able to immediately place them in a hotel for a couple weeks until a permanent apartment could be found.
Raymond is now working two jobs while Desirae tries to work part-time and care for their little girl. With no car, Raymond has to take the bus or use a bicycle we gifted him to get to and from work everyday. Their struggles aren’t over, but he is grateful they have a roof over their head and the lifeline the Christian Service Center provided to pull them out of homelessness.
Hear Raymond’s story in his own words in our new video, “Helping Families Off the Streets” on our Homepage and YouTube channel.