(Middle) REALTORS® from across Florida
participated in a food packaging event
for Meals of Hope.
Courtesy of USDA, Photo by Lance Cheung
The Legislature passed $4 million in grants supporting
homelessness programs around the state.
Joining with other homeless advocates during the 2016
legislative session, Florida REALTORS® helped pass
$5.2 million in grants to local organizations working
with the homeless. Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of
the Florida Housing Coalition, said that appropriation
was highly important to homeless advocates as it provided
for the first time rent subsidies for homeless persons moving into their own apartments.
“When you consider REALTORS® are about selling
homes, their commitment to the issue of homelessness
is even more powerful as it’s not in their direct pecuniary interest,” Ross said.
Throughout her year as president of Florida REALTORS®,
Meadows took advantage of every opportunity to raise
awareness of homelessness. At the association’s annual
convention, she had members pack meals that were delivered to thousands of homeless persons.
“One packed meal can feed a family of four, and I believe
we packed 50,000 meals within two hours,” she said.
Delivering meals to homeless children is an
ongoing project of a number of local REALTORS®.
“The very next day those meals were being delivered
around Central Florida so that was another success.”
Delivering meals to homeless children is an ongoing
project of a number of local REALTORS® associations
working in partnerships with homelessness coalitions.
Barbara Barnes, association executive of the Lakeland
Association of REALTORS®, said members of her organization work with a nonprofit called kidsPACK to deliver
meals to homeless school children.
Every Friday, Barnes said, kidsPACK delivers plain
black backpacks to homeless children attending the
Polk County schools. Lakeland REALTORS® help stuff
Barnes said the backpacks contain enough food to feed
each family over the weekend. The kids receive free breakfasts and lunches on school days. Last year, kidsPACK
reported, the program provided meals to 1,345 homeless
children attending 66 Polk County schools.
Under Meadows leadership, Florida REALTORS®
sponsored the Housing Matters Summit on Family
Homelessness at an Orlando hotel in September, 2014.
(Right) In 2015, the KidsPACK program
provided meals to 1,345 homeless children
attending 66 Polk County schools.