To better respond to the needs of students who are living in financially fragile situations and students who are homeless, the Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) plans to launch a new fund – Families in Need (FIN) Fund. The new fund will allow SCPS to serve the needs of the 2,000 students and their families on the brink of homelessness in addition to the estimated 1,800 homeless Families in Transition (FIT).
Florida has the highest rate of family homelessness in the nation according to The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As many as 44,000 family members experience some type of homelessness in Central Florida each year.
A United Way study, ALICE, tells a gloomier story – 30% of Florida households are walking a financial tightrope. They are working hard, but falling short of consistently covering the basic costs of living. Unable to save for the future, they are vulnerable to a single emergency that can push them into crisis and homelessness. (Access ALICE report at (uwof.org/alice).
Launch of the FIN Fund is a local response to best practices coming out of the regional initiative, Rethink Homelessness, championed by The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (rethinkhomelessness.org). The initiative seeks to bring leaders across sectors throughout Central Florida together to retool and strengthen programs that can weave together a more effective local crisis response system.
“As public educators, we see some of our students coming to school in a state of crisis – hungry, in need of clothing and basic supplies, and feeling dispirited. In this state, our children are simply unable to learn at the rate of their peers. We want to be more effective in plugging our students’ families into services provided by other agencies while also using Families In Need (FIN) private support to make family homelessness rare, brief and onetime,” says Amy Elwood, SCPS Student Support Services Administrator.
The new FIN Fund will empower SCPS to be more pro-active by providing students with basic needs and addressing issues before our students and their families fall into the state of homelessness. To learn more about how you can support our students by contributing to the FIN Fund, call 407.320.0176.