Joined by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Central Florida Commission on Homelessness CEO Andrae Bailey, Florida Hospital President Lars Houmann announced Tuesday, the largest, one-time private donation to end chronic homelessness in Central Florida history.
Houmann said Florida Hospital is committing $6 million over the next three years to address homelessness in the region.
“As individuals, we sometimes look away when we see a homeless person because the sight is painful,” said Houmann. “We can no longer do that. Businesses, hospitals and the community must unite around this issue. We all have a moral obligation to take a stand to end chronic homelessness.”
Florida Hospital’s commitment follows $15 million which Orange County Government plans to budget over the next three years for homeless housing, prevention and related family programs.
“Building upon the great momentum and recent, renewed awareness that has been created regarding the issue of homelessness, I believe that we can make history by transforming the lives of our homeless children and families, the chronically homeless and our proud veterans,” said Jacobs.
Added Jacobs: “We are known worldwide for collaboration. What if we could be known (worldwide) for our compassion?”
Earlier this year, the city of Orlando gave an undertaking to work toward reducing the number of homeless on city streets. In this connection, some $4 million has been committed over the next three years to support the “Housing First” model, which provides housing with wrap-around supportive services to the chronic homeless.
“Collaboration is the hallmark of our community. With the leadership of businesses like Florida Hospital, I am confident our community can once again partner together to provide permanent housing options for chronically homeless individuals,” said Dyer.
The financial commitments represent the kick-off investment of the “Impact Homeless Fund,” a new collaborative fund at the Central Florida Foundation.