Making an Impact:
LTF sat down with site visit team captain and Grants Committee Chair, Woody Collins, to discuss the Foundation’s involvement with the veterans support agency Faith Hope Love Charity, Inc. (FHLC), and their groundbreaking Village of Valor housing project which will serve as the largest single campus for homeless veterans in Palm Beach County.
FHLC was started by two homeless veterans in 1996 as a resource for critical, yet overlooked support services for local veterans. Almost twenty years later, the organization has expanded to include a staff of 25 and a board of nine outside directors, annually serving over 1,086 veterans and their families with valuable job training, job placement, outreach, referral services, and housing assistance.
The Village of Valor project has been a long-term dream of the agency, one built with grit and determination. Seven years ago, the agency was able to secure a rare commodity in Palm Beach County — 14 acres of vacant land. Next came substantial fundraising efforts, and ultimately, the recent LTF grant of $100,000 which allowed them to complete their fundraising efforts.
The facility will provide 157 housing units of multiple size to serve residents as they transition from homelessness to productive lives. FHLC will relocate its headquarters to the Village of Valor campus which will be essential to the project’s success; having the critical resources located in the center of the complex will help ensure a smoother delivery of services and support, and develop an integrated sense of community that most homeless facilities lack.
“This is a tremendously exciting project for the Foundation, as we’re always looking for ideas which will help an agency build scale,” says Woody. “Village of Valor will allow FHLC to scale its scope of assistance and make a significant dent in the homeless population, meeting housing needs for over 40% of homeless veterans in PBC.
By organizing our grants review process into our four focus areas –homelessness, hunger, health and education, our grants committee and site visit teams have been able to develop a more in-depth framework of problems and issues, and can therefore be more informed when identifying and evaluating potential requests. This has allowed us to evolve into giving bigger grants with potential to make a much broader difference. The Village of Valor is a perfect example, in that it will significantly impact PBC’s homeless veterans, and will hopefully serve as an important model for other organizations going forward. We are very excited to be part of the effort.”
Special thanks to site visit team members Ann Bresnan, Bob Errico, Mitzi Freidheim, Alan Hunting, Joan Litle, Ann Quick, Cindy Collins, and Nick Young and to the Grants Committee for their careful consideration of this grant.