The summit attracted 250 REALTORS®, business leaders
and homeless advocates from Florida and many other
places outside the state.
“The summit was successful,” Meadows said. “It was sold
out. We invited first responders, care givers, shelters, civic
organizations, bankers. Everybody that you can think of
came to that summit, so that the left hand knew what the
right hand was doing in the state of Florida.”
“We created a model for other associations, be it local or
state associations around the country that have done similar initiatives,” she said. “We believe that our best practices
or ideas were able to be spread around the country from
the example that we set.”
Summit participants discussed more than 100 ways to provide services to the homeless. The association published a
book titled “HELPING the HOMELESS 100 IDEAS TO
BELIEVE IN” and distributed it to summit participants.
Florida REALTORS® created
a model for other associations
around the country.
Ideas highlighted in the book are as basic as offering
homeless persons a granola bar or a bottle of water instead
of money. Cash donations may be well-meant, Meadows
said, but that money may be spent on alcohol or drugs,
which perpetuates the cycle of homelessness.
Meadows said helping the homeless has become a way
of life for many Florida REALTORS®. One of them is
Merritt Island REALTOR® Louise McLean who was
named the association’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year
for leading an effort to raise more than $120,000 for
homelessness organizations in Brevard County.
McLean formed the Brevard’s Children in Need Committee after she saw a 60 Minutes program about homeless
children in the county. The Brevard Schools Foundation
reported 1,600 homeless children in county in 2014.
“The money helps homeless children with needs, from
a new coat or shoes to a band instrument — anything to
keep them included and involved in school,” McLean said.
In Miami, real estate professionals helped raise funds,
acquire a building and renovate it to house the Lotus
House, a shelter for homeless women and children.
Members of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)
The Housing Matters Summit on Family
Homelessness in Orlando, September, 2014.