Today is World Homeless Day, and in order to shed some light on homelessness, several local bloggers were invited to the Chapman Partnership. Eddie and I decided that this would be a really great opportunity to serve outside of our church and school community, and set a good example for our kids. I also truly believe that with this platform that I have built, I have the obligation to share with my followers things that are a need in our communities. We were given a tour of the facility and then we had the opportunity to serve lunch to the residents.
The Chapman Partnership is an incredible organization that has truly been designed with its residents and their dignity in mind. One of the things that our Volunteer Specialist Jessie told us is that many people are just one paycheck away from homelessness. A lot of the thoughts that people have about homelessness are misconceptions. Not every person who is homeless is in their situation because of drug or alcohol abuse. Some are, but there are so many other reasons why people fall on hard times, and everyone is entitled to try and pave their way to a better life with dignity. This is something that the Chapman Partnership really embodies.
Chapman Partnership is the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, and they operate two Homeless Assistance Centers located in downtown Miami and Homestead. The Chapman Partnership empowers homeless men, women and children to build a positive future by providing the resources and assistance critical to growth, stability, and independence.
They provide a wide array of support services that go far beyond just emergency shelter to include comprehensive case management, health, mental and dental care, day care, job development and training, job placement, permanent housing assistance and other support from a variety of social service agencies all under one roof to 800 men, women and children daily. Unlike many other shelters, the Chapman Partnership does not have a limit to how long someone can be in residence.
During our tour we learned just how much The Chapman Partnership does for those experiencing homelessness. From intake to outplace, they truly give those in their centers all the tools they need to become independent. They have a medical clinic manned by nurse practitioners from Jackson, mental health services, and a mobile dental clinic (where they perform all dental procedures except for orthodontics). All of this is provided at no cost to the residents. If their needs cannot be met there, they are given a voucher to receive services at Jackson.
We were able to visit the dorms - they have three separate areas: one for families, one for single men, and one for single women. While their largest population is single males, a large percentage of the homeless population does include women and families. At the Chapman Partnership, 44 percent of residents are families with children, and they have taken that into account. Their family dorms are designed for families of four, but for those with larger families, adjoining rooms allow for families to stay together, as that is one of their primary goals when it comes to families.
They serve three hot meals per day, as well as bagged lunches for those who leave for work and school. They provide child care with an on-site day care through the Head Start program through MDCPS, and they have a Family Resource Center where children can go after school to work on homework and enrichment activities, and where children can spend free time reading books, doing arts & crafts, or playing video games. Other services include life skills training, legal services, social security services, vocational training, job placement, financial literacy, substance abuse counseling and housing placement.
Because of their commitment to providing comprehensive services to their residents, the Chapman Partnership has a 64% success rate in outplacing their residents into permanent or transitional housing.
Ways You Can Help
We learned about the 1% Food & Beverage Tax* today and I thought it was really interesting - I actually had no idea about it! The Chapman Partnership receives a little over 60% of their funding from The Homeless Trust. The rest is private beneficiaries and fundraising efforts. The Homeless Trust is funded by the 1% Food & Beverage Tax.
There was so much to take in while we were visiting Chapman, and I wish I could share all the information we learned and all the amazing things that they do there. But know that when you donate to the Chapman Partnership, it is truly all going back to the residents and their betterment.
For more information about the Chapman Partnership, how you can get involved, and their services, head over to https://chapmanpartnership.org.
And as always, let’s count our blessings.
*What is the 1% Food and Beverage Tax?
At the time of the Homeless Trust’s funding, it was clear that the private sector alone could not support the needs of the community. The Florida Legislature, supported by Governor Lawton Chiles and the Miami-Dade County Commission, made it possible for there to be a 1% sales tax on food and beverages sold in the larger restaurants in our community. Fifteen percent of the funds received would be allocated to the Domestic Violence Oversight Board.
Specifics on the Tax:
A one percent (1%) Homeless and Domestic Violence Tax is collected on all food and beverage sales by establishments that are licensed by the State of Florida to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, except for hotels and motels. Only businesses that make over $400,000 in gross receipts annually are obligated to collect this tax.
The Homeless and Domestic Violence Tax is collected throughout Miami-Dade County with the exception of facilities in the cities of Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the tax receipts goes to the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, and fifteen percent (15%) goes to Miami-Dade County for domestic violence centers.