“I first became involved with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida through my church, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in College Park. St. Michael’s is one of the original members of the ‘coalition’ of churches that began this outreach many years ago,” says Wilson, who previously served on the Board for nine years beginning in 2004. He was Chairman from 2007 to 2009.
“Many people know the Coalition is the largest provider of homeless services in Central Florida,” explains Wilson, “but it is important that our community fully understand the facts of homelessness and how the Coalition seeks to address the problem.”
These facts include:
- 63% of the Coalition’s residents on an average night are made up of women, children and families.
- The average age of children served meals at the Coalition is 8 years old. 200 children are served with their families each night.
- The primary contributors to homelessness are domestic violence, addiction, lack of affordable housing, loss of income and mental illness.
- Homelessness is a condition that is the result of other problems. The Coalition provides a broad range of services to help deal with the root causes of homelessness.
- The Coalition offers food, shelter, education, job skills, case management, counseling, daycare, after school programs and community housing.
- As an advocate for Central Florida’s homeless families, Wilson emphasizes the risk families face when they don’t have a permanent address: “Without a home, every other problem in life, whether it is personal, financial, health, dependency, relationships or employment, becomes more difficult to handle.”
Wilson’s first role at the Coalition was as a server. He served meals in the men’s pavilion once a month, and eventually joined the Board. In addition to Board work, he has participated primarily in fundraising.
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