Hope and Healing. Now, and the Years Ahead.
Every day we see how destructive and disruptive both homelessness and serious mental illness are to people of every color and background. We also know the destructive effects of hate and silent indifference, both in actions and words, and stand with the Black community in seeking an end to the systemic racism that is embedded in the fabric of our society.
At Dave’s House, our residents are men and women who represent a wide range of races, ethnic origins, colors, religions, sexual orientations, and ages. They are a testament to the reality that, given a chance, we can all reach our full potential in life. Yet we know that African-Americans are over-represented in the numbers of homeless and those with serious mental illness due to unmet needs and other embedded societal barriers. We know they are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities, including exclusion from health, educational, social, and economic resources. We do not and will not accept these inequities and stand firmly with the Black community in pursuit of equality.
The COVID-19 pandemic will increase the number of people with serious mental illness who are homeless. We are working to give more people the fundamental foundation of permanent supportive housing in Central Florida and are committed to ensuring those we serve reflect the true composition of homeless individuals with serious mental illness in our society today.
Our team and our volunteer leadership are committed to both conversation and action now, and to meaningful change in our society for our shared future. This includes working with community mental health partners to address the higher rate of stigma associated with mental illness in the Black community and to increase awareness of resources. It also includes working with community leaders to develop long-term housing solutions with an emphasis on the Black community and the higher rate of homelessness within this demographic. And most importantly, it means keeping this important dialogue and its learnings at the forefront of our mission and everyday work supporting people in need.
At Dave’s House, we envision a future without barriers to personal freedom, independence, and equality for all. Today, we rededicate ourselves to these values and to the heavy work of bringing hope and healing to every community we serve.