Place of Hope to open transitional housing for former foster youth, homeless single mothers

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Staff report

There is now a place for aged-out foster youth and homeless, single mothers to go instead of sleeping on the streets at Boca’s Place of Hope campus.

The Gary Peters Transitional Housing Complex, which is part of the renamed Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Village, will provide 16 beds to aged-out foster youth and homeless, single mothers.

“This program focuses mainly on 18-year-olds who, due to a lack of affordable, transitional housing, are most at-risk of not finishing school and falling through the cracks,” said lead donor and longtime philanthropist Peters, for whom the building is named.

Peters is partnering with Place of Hope Founding CEO Charles L. Bender III to be able to provide vocational training to residents through his nonprofit organization, Boca Helping Hands.

The affordable housing complex is another step toward Place of Hope’s larger plan of creating more transitional, supportive residences for people who seek a better life for themselves and their children.

Place of Hope is a faith-based, state-licensed children’s organization providing family style foster care (emergency and long-term); family outreach and intervention; maternity care; safety for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking; transitional housing and support services for youth aging out of foster care; housing and support services for homeless families; foster care recruitment and support; hope and healing opportunities for children and families who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect throughout our region.

The completion of the Gary Peters Transitional Housing Complex is scheduled for this month. It is the first building on the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Village, which will ultimately comprise four buildings.

The four complexes will provide safe housing and counseling from the adjacent Place of Hope centers. Each building will have eight units, and the expanded campus will be able to accommodate approximately 64 beds in total. The overall Leighan and David Rinker campus will eventually provide more than 100 beds.

“When we first established Place of Hope at the Leighan and Davide Rinker Campus in 2013, the demand for affordable, transitional housing in our area was evident, as we started managing the influx of applications to live on our campus,” Bender said. “It was clear that a key obstacle to self-sufficiency and a key driver of homelessness – whether you’re exiting foster care, graduating high school, recovering from addiction or fleeing domestic abuse and human trafficking – was the lack of housing and support services, such as what we were already providing at Place of Hope. We needed more homes that people could afford to live in.Thanks to this group of caring people, who are community leaders for just that reason – because they care – together, we are transforming a bold vision for truly affordable supportive and transitional housing into a hope-filled achievement. There is nothing quite like it locally.”

The Homeless Point-in-Time Count, which took place during a 24-hour period Jan. 26 and 27, 2017, throughout the county, identified that 1,607 individuals and families were homeless and staying in places not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelters or in a transitional housing program. The count found increases in the chronically homeless population, as well as in youth ages 18 to 24 and in the elderly population.

“We owe a great deal of gratitude and appreciation to the visionary lead donors and supporters who have enabled us to open the Gary Peters Transitional Housing Complex within budget and without a mortgage,” Bender said. “Place of Hope is a responsible steward of our donors’ investments and works to ensure a zero-debt structure on our infrastructure projects.”

Through his Gary Peters Family Foundation, Peters gave Place of Hope the lead donation of $500,000. Peter’s friend, the late Arthur Remillard, donated $100,000. Other key supporters are The Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation, Jay DiPietro and Sharon DiPietro, Florida Chapter of Club Managers Association of America (FLCMAA) Seminole Region, Impact 100 Palm Beach County, Jeff Stoops and Aggie Stoops/Stoops Family Foundation, The Coulombe Family Foundation, The Asofsky Family Foundation, The Lester J. Woerner Family, James Batmasian and Marta Batmasian, Arthur Adler, Boca West Children’s Foundation, Greg Kino, GL Homes, Joe Seta and Karen Seta, and The Boca Rio Foundation.

For more information, please visit www.placeofhope.com.