About Mid-Florida Homeless Coalition, Inc.
A small group of people began meeting to talk about the needs of the homeless in the rural communities where they resided. The decision was made to start a coalition that would encompass four rural communities that with a combined population would allow them to compete in applying for federal homeless dollars. The Coalition was established in 2000 and incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) in 2001. The original Officers were James Lowe of Lake Community Action Agency of Eustis, Jamie Dodd of Leesburg, Tommy Blackmon of Inverness, and Valerie Seaton of Eustis.
The Coalition has evolved into the lead agency as determined by the State of Florida and the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (FL520-Citrus, Hernando, Lake, and Sumter). Under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act passed in 2009, an entire community rather than individual service providers must demonstrate success in preventing and reducing homelessness.
Accordingly, the Coalition is the lead agency coordinating Citrus, Hernando, Lake, and Sumter’s response to homelessness, and as such serves as the primary support organization for the community’s Continuum of Care (CoC). The CoC system creates an improved homeless service system that more effectively provides services, support, and housing to all sub-populations within Citrus, Hernando, Lake, and Sumter’s homeless community, with a primary focus on moving individuals and families out of homelessness. The ultimate goal of the CoC is the creation of a homeless service system that achieves a reduction in new instances of, length of, and returns to homelessness and meets the varying needs of homeless sub-populations such as unaccompanied youth, veterans, and families with children.