Submitted by: Angela Bozorth,
Here at the Cocoa Office of Volunteers of America we strive to help less fortunate members of our community rebuild their lives every day in a multitude of ways with both our transitional housing program to assist homeless veterans and their families as well as the homeless community at large via the Challenge Grant. One of the success stories related to the Challenge Grant this past year involves the true spirit of team work through multiple members of the Brevard Homeless Coalition working together to see that homeless participants are successfully housed. Due to limited funding, few resources and exorbitant housing costs this has become an ideal solution to expedite chronic and high risk cases. One of our success stories at VOA started late in 2017 when 211 referred a family with a disabled father and a heavily pregnant mother due to give birth in 6 weeks. They also had two toddlers, age one and two, one most likely with special needs. They were all living in a tent in the woods and subsisting on the father’s SSI payments of barely $500 a month. By the first of the year, Angela Bozorth, Community Specialist funded under the Challenge Grant and Raylene Coe of Crosswinds worked together to complete VI-SPDATS and Full SPDATS, added them to CHAT Team and secured them a voucher with the Brevard Housing Authority. Between the two agencies who stepped up and then collaborated with Housing for Homeless who had a house for rent that was perfect for this large brood, by the end of March this was a family of five and by April this family was living in a nice 3 bedroom 1 ½ bath home with a yard, kitchen, even beds for each of the kids. Per Brevard Housing Authority requirements, Brevard Cares then stepped in to provide the monthly case management. Due to the family’s indigent status, their portion of the $1,200 monthly rent was $0. We were not able to house them overnight but it was a good feeling seeing a family go from living in a tent in the woods to a nice home in the suburbs and a chance at a better life for themselves and their children.