What is Hope Place? It is a fresh start for families with children that have been displaced from their homes and a new beginning for a former elementary school to once again help children and the community. The conversion of the old Hurst Elementary School to a family center serving homeless students, children & their families is expected to open in the late summer of 2017. Guests will be admitted based on referrals from social service agencies and prescreened during their intake to make sure their background makes them a good candidate to live in a family center and neighborhood. Hope Place will provide a safe, stable environment with the resources needed for families to quickly move on to their own permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
Homeless Children and their Families Volusia County Schools’ student population includes approximately 2,300 homeless students. This includes 180 unaccompanied youth that are on their own but continue to attend school even though they have no guardian or stable housing. It is estimated that there are an additional 600 preschool children that are homeless in our community plus 70 unaccompanied youth as students at DSC. Homeless families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population constituting over 40% of America’s homeless people. Family homelessness is often caused by a medical or financial event leading to a family losing their residence.
Hope Place will offer 26 temporary emergency housing rooms, 9 transitional efficiency units to provide emergency housing for up to 140 residents and a separate wing for up to 32 unaccompanied students. There will be 24×7 security/resident assistants, plus day staff for case management and rehousing specialists. Guests will attend budgeting, parenting, and life skills classes, as well as tutoring and educational opportunities for children. Campus partnerships are in development to offer a new Volusia County Park on site; a community garden; a computer lab; a library center; VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) program, family counseling, and transportation to other services including behavioral health and a community health clinic offered by Halifax Health. Plans are to offer some of these services not only to our guests but also to neighborhood families.
How long will guests be able to live at Hope Place Family Center? The goal is to help families move out and live independently within 90 days either by their own savings and efforts or through our rapid rehousing program grant funding. Guests with unique challenges may be allowed to stay longer in an apartment unit. Case managers will help guide guests to find employment, connect with other appropriate service providers and develop a plan to independence.
What Hope Place IS NOT. Hope Place is not a shelter for single or chronically homeless “street people”. There will be no services for single adults that do not have minor children living with them. Hope Place is not a domestic abuse shelter, not a mental health treatment center and not a drug rehabilitation center, not a public soup kitchen or food pantry, and not a walk up center.
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Links to Hope Place Details & Media
As the Hope place plan is refined with input from its neighbors, architects and the operations committees slight changes will be made to the overall vision presented here.