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AndreJust as his life was beginning to move forward, a setback completely out of his control forced Andre to make a very difficult choice. For the sake of his young family, Andre decided that the best way to best way to ensure their long-term stability was to temporarily separate while he experienced a period of homelessness.

Andre, 27, moved to Fort Lauderdale from Miami in Aug. 2014 with his two children, ages 4 and 2, after landing a job in the restaurant industry.  He and his family moved in with his sister to begin their new life in Broward County.  However, less than two months later his plans for a new beginning for himself and his children took a turn for the worse.

One afternoon, Andre answered a knock at the door where he was handed an eviction notice. Though his sister dutifully paid the rent on time, the landlord was negligent in paying off the loan.  The property was going into foreclosure, putting Andre and his children at risk.

Rather than move his family back to Miami, Andre decided that he would make a go of it on his own.  He temporarily sent his children to live with their biological mother while Andre sought to find suitable housing.  Determined to keep his job, Andre's decision meant that he would have no place to live.

Fortunately, one day while taking the bus to work, Andre overheard a couple of passengers talking about the Broward Partnership.  Later that day, he did some research and eventually called 2-1-1 Broward.  After spending a night at the Salvation Army, Andre became a program participant on Oct. 3.

"When I got here, I didn't know what a shelter was," he said. "I thought it was somewhere where you go to sleep and just do whatever you want to do.  But when I got here, it was a whole different ballgame."

The case management and comprehensive services offered by the Partnership were just what Andre needed to allow him to provide for his family.  Under the advisement from his case manager Jose, Andre utilized the Partnership's Workforce Development services while continuing to hold down his job.  In a short amount of time, he landed a second job as a manager at another restaurant.

Because his new job entailed working second shift, Andre and his employer agreed that he would start upon discharge from the Partnership.  This, coupled with the fact that he dearly missed his children, greatly motivated Andre to be discharged as soon as possible.

Still, the question of finding suitable housing remained.  Though Andre was able to save $2,100 while at the Partnership, he still needed assistance to secure a suitable place to live for himself and his family.  This impediment would be overcome by the Partnership's Families First! Rapid Re-Housing Program.

Knowing that Andre was positioned to successfully transition from homelessness, Jose transferred his case to Melissa in Family Services.  Along with the Partnership's housing specialist Vincent, the Families First! team was successful in finding an apartment for Andre and his family right before Christmas.

"I could have cried," Andre said. "I was happy because all I was thinking about was my kids.  I am going get my kids back and be able to wake up with my kids next to me."

Through the Partnership's Families First! program, Andre's rent deposits were covered.  That meant he could use the money he saved while he was a participant to ensure his children would have presents - and a merry Christmas.

"I actually got to go pick a tree," he said.  "My daughter called me and asked me if we were going to have a Christmas tree.  I asked her which kind she wanted and she said that she just wanted a tree.  That made me feel real good that I can get a tree for them."

Looking back, Andre expressed much gratitude towards the case management staff at the Partnership, particularly Jose, for helping him to reclaim his life and reunite his family.

His experience has forever changed his opinion on what it is like to experience homelessness.

"To be honest, this is a good place for people who want help. It's not a place where people can just come and chill," he said. "There are people out there who need help and want help.  And I feel like this place is a good place to help people."

"If you come here, you come here for help.  And I will tell anyone that I needed help and they helped me - a lot."

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Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311

Phone: 954.779.3990

E-mail:  info@bphi.org

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Wish List

Items needed

  • - Unexpired canned and dry food.

  • - Personal hygiene items for adults and children.

  • - Shampoos, soaps, lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deordorant.

  • - Good quality professional clothing and shoes for men and women.

  • - Infant and children's clothing.

  • Diapers and unopened infant formula.

  • New underwear and socks for adults and children.

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