In 2011, Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration recognized a growing number of families and children experiencing poverty and living in hotels and motels along Highway 192. They knew the faith community had a role to play, and the idea of Community Hope Center was born.
In 2013, Community Hope Center’s vision came full circle, with our service center’s grand opening to provide holistic care to all those in need in our community. A building that was once an IHOP and then a Mexican restaurant became the new home of hope in our community. The goal was to provide a spot for various agencies and providers to co-locate in one location–creating a “no wrong door” approach to provide all the resources a family may need to achieve self-determined stability. Our plan was to serve 200 families a year; in the first year, we served 1,000 families. Over time, the number of agency partnerships grew, as did the number of families being served.
In 2014, our dream of providing accessible healthcare became a reality when Orange Blossom Family Healthcare opened a federally qualified health clinic in our building. This clinic provides sliding-scale health services to our neighbors experiencing homelessness and poverty throughout Osceola County. By incorporating a partnership with a healthcare provider like Orange Blossom Family Health, Community Hope Center was one step closer to providing the holistic care continuum we always envisioned.
As more families sought services from Community Hope Center and our homeless outreach expanded throughout Osceola County, we noticed that more and more of our clients lacked proper identification to find employment, secure permanent housing, and even pick up necessary prescriptions. In 2015, Community Hope Center brought the IDignity model to Osceola County. At our first event on February 26, 2016, we hosted 14 partner agencies and served 65 clients through our established reservation system. We now partner with over 30 community agencies to provide identification services to hundreds every year.
Throughout our journey as an agency, one solution always stood out above all others– affordable housing. The need for affordable housing in Central Florida is great, and it was taking longer and longer to help our clients reach their goals of stable housing because there weren’t any available units.
In 2017, Community Hope Center received a gift of 5 acres of land from the Florida United Methodist Conference, and the dream to build a trauma-informed community rooted in our principles of holistic care was one step closer to reality.
Even before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Community Hope Center had embarked on the process of a rebrand. What started as a two-person, mostly volunteer operation providing case management, clothing, and food had grown into a staff of over 20 providing services from emergency relief to homeless outreach, employment assistance, identification services, family advocacy, and a plan for a housing community. We were providing an entire continuum of services and wanted a name that reflected this. Enter Hope Partnership.
Hope Partnership encapsulates the work that Hope Center had been doing all along by highlighting the other services and programs many may not have been aware were provided in our community. Hope Center still exists to serve families experiencing homelessness and poverty in hotels and motels along highway 192, and we are also introducing new entities. Hope Cares will provide emergency relief, homeless outreach, and navigation services, and Hope Works will provide a pathway to employment, healthcare, and housing through day labor and vocational training.
Hope Partnership is growing in exciting ways as we realize our full potential as an agent for poverty alleviation in this community.