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Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program awards $14,250 Grant Award to the Samaritan Center

April 2023 - The Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program awards a $14,250 grant to Catholic Charities Samaritan Center.  The grant from Grand Harbor Community Outreach specifically supports the provision of mental health care to homeless families residing at the center.

The unacceptable condition requiring change is homelessness and it's comingling with mental health issues. Homelessness is often preceded and accompanied by barriers such as lack of education, vocational skills, parenting skills, substance abuse, physical & emotional abuse, financial problems, legal issues, transportation difficulties, high housing costs, mental health issues, and a general lack of adaptive life problem-solving skills. The need for routine and crisis mental health care in this communal setting with families facing personal challenges is paramount.

The client families live in and are current residents of Indian River County. Most are in the process of being, or have already been, evicted and are living in cars, tents or on someone's porch for a limited time. In some cases, the court mandates that a parent enter this program to be reunified with their child/children.

Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council (TCHSC) conducted its Point in Time study in January 2022 revealing a total of 846 individuals (668 adults and 178 children) who were counted as homeless on the Treasure Coast. Additional individuals temporarily staying with family or friends because of economic reasons (“couch surfers”) are not considered homeless in this count. An additional 1,986 individuals were reported as couch surfers by participating agencies during the Point in Time count. This is up from 1,319 during 2021, which is an 51% increase over last year’s numbers.

The Point in Time (PIT) numbers reflect the official homeless numbers, as reported to HUD by the Continuum of Care. TCHSC utilizes street outreach teams, service organizations, school homeless liaisons, and shelter programs to provide an accurate count of individuals who meet HUDs definition of homelessness, counted on one specific day in the last 10 days of January.

Best practices, such as supportive housing models like the Samaritan Center, develop and strengthen relationships to link affordable housing with community-based services assisting residents to regain stable lives after completing our in-house multi-level program while living at the Samaritan Center. Residents stay at the center for approximately 6- 9 months. During this time, the entire family is educated, receive counseling and crisis support. This support enables residents to create healthy relationships, maintain employment, participate in school, and reach financial success with an end goal of returning to independent living upon graduation. The vital mental health component serves to help develop personal coping skills, de-escalate conflict with other residents, and develop resiliency for our residents.

Catholic Charities is thankful to the Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program for their support.  The Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program is an all-volunteer organization operating as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit charity*, founded in 2001. Through a direct appeal to Grand Harbor members and residents, solicitation of corporate sponsorships and hosting several major events, they raise funds which are distributed to over 30 local charities. Nearly 400 donors and volunteers support the activities of GHCOP. They have an active Board that oversees all activities and they are always looking for additional volunteers and Board members.  GHCOP raised over $575,000 in the 2021-2022 season and since their founding, has raised over $6.6 million.  They have no paid employees and 100% of each donor’s contribution goes to support a local charity.  The mission of the Grand Harbor Outreach Program is to address the unmet needs of groups and individuals in the area of health, education and human services in Indian River County.