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First Lady Casey DeSantis Strengthens Florida’s Families through Hope Florida

First Lady Casey DeSantis Strengthens Florida’s Families through Hope Florida

First Lady Casey DeSantis Strengthens Florida’s Families through Hope Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis highlighted the continued success of the Hope Florida initiative. Throughout the year, the First Lady has reaffirmed her commitment to support and advocate for Florida’s children, families, and vulnerable populations by breaking down community silos to unite faith institutions, nonprofits, private sector entities and government.

Over the last year, some of the Hope Florida initiative’s successes include:

  • Over 80,000 Floridians in need served by Hope Florida to date.

o   More than 24,000 Hope Florida participants had a reduced reliance or are no longer relying on public assistance to meet their food or cash needs.

o   Over a 10-year period, participant reduction of public assistance will save taxpayers over $700 million.

  • Over 1,000 foster youth have been supported by Hope Florida.

o   616 former foster youth received help accessing a college and university tuition waiver.

  • 453 foster youth are working with a long-term mentor to prepare for their future.
  • Over 1,750 faith institutions and church response teams across the state united to serve Floridians through Hope Florida and CarePortal, making this initiative the largest statewide cooperative faith effort in the country.

o   Over 6,000 needs have been met by Florida faith communities through the CarePortal.

 

“Hope Florida continues to connect and harness the goodwill of amazing nonprofits, faith institutions, and private sector partners to serve Floridians in need and put them on a path for long-term success,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “I am proud of the work we have done over the past year, and I look forward to doing even more in 2024 to help Floridians achieve their God-given potential.”

Some significant milestones for the initiative this year include:

  • Hope Florida expanded to partner with private sector business entities in providing employment opportunities for Floridians through CareerSource Florida. New College of Florida joined Hope Florida as the first educational partner, guaranteeing jobs to Hope Florida participants and scholarship opportunities. Click here to learn about private-sector partnership.
  • The Department of Juvenile Justice launched Hope Florida – A Pathway to Potential to expand services for at-risk youth and their families.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities launched Hope Florida – A Pathway to Possibilities, empowering individuals with unique abilities through essential resources that promote independence and integration.
  • Representatives from states including Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee attended The Hope Solution event to learn about Hope Florida and ways to replicate the model in other states.
  • The Statewide Guardian ad Litem office launched Hope Florida – A Pathway to Promise, assisting youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood by providing a long-term mentor and offering a strong start to their future. Utilizing both Guardian ad Litem volunteers and the Department of Elder Affairs’ Hope Heroes, this agency has recruited over 415 active mentors across the state.
  • The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs launched Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots, supporting Florida’s over 1.5 million veterans and their families.
  • Through the Hope Florida Fund, the First Lady awarded nearly half a million dollars to over 40 deserving nonprofits across the state that serve children and families in need.

 

“Hope Florida has transformed the way our Department supports families and has created unlimited opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sectors, nonprofits, and faith institutions,” said Department for Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “We all experience challenges in our lifetime, but a strong support system can make a huge difference. Thanks to the leadership of First Lady Casey DeSantis over 80,000 Floridians have been able to tap into the Hope Florida Network as they work to get back on their feet and be self-sufficient.”

“The First Lady’s Hope Florida Initiative is a simple but profound movement that is changing the way faith institutions, nonprofits, and state government work together to serve the most vulnerable Floridians,” said Erik Dellenback, Governor’s Liaison for Faith and Community. “Hope Florida has put into practice and evidenced what we already know — the best solution for serving our communities is not in a greater, grander government but through the might of our faith and community networks. I am proud to be a part of a movement that has become a national model for making a real difference, in real time, in the lives of real people.”

“Being a part of First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hope Florida initiative has enabled the Department of Juvenile Justice to expand and amplify the way we serve vulnerable youth in Florida’s communities,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Eric Hall. “Under the First Lady’s leadership, our navigators have helped hundreds of youth and their families find the support they need through mentoring, mental health support services, shelter, and more to get back on the right track towards a successful future.”

“Florida’s First Lady is revolutionizing the way government operates by connecting those in need to local, community-based resources and putting families in the driver’s seat to achieve sustainable and life-altering positive impacts,” said Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Taylor Hatch. “The expansion of the Hope Florida program to include individuals with unique abilities and their families is just another example of a call to action for Florida communities to unite and provide essential resources to maximize community integration, promote independence, and empower all Floridians to achieve their pathway to possibilities.”

“Hope Florida – A Pathway to Promise mentoring initiative provides Florida’s foster youth more opportunities of support, providing a lifeline for youth transitioning out of foster care to live independently thanks to First Lady Casey DeSantis’ vision,” said Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office Executive Director Dennis W. Moore. “Youth in foster care face difficulties and challenges, with many having nobody to turn to. A positive relationship with a caring adult helps the youth navigate life’s obstacles, helping even more youth succeed.”

“Thanks to the passionate and enduring leadership of First Lady Casey DeSantis, the Department of Elder Affairs helped 1,289 seniors through the innovative and thoughtful initiative Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose this year,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. “I am so proud of the great work we are accomplishing and confident our Department will continue to help more and more of our cherished seniors through this amazing program in the years to come.”

“Under the leadership of First Lady Casey DeSantis, the Hope Florida initiative continues to foster resilience and prosperity across our great state,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Adrienne Johnston. “CareerSource Florida is proud to play a pivotal role in identifying barriers and developing successful, long-term plans for education, training, and employment needs to put job seekers on a path to economic self-sufficiency. Together, we’ve unlocked potential, turning dreams into impactful realities.”

“As a veteran, I have witnessed the difference Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots’ care navigation and a personalized plans for long-term success make for our brave Florida veterans,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell. “First Lady Casey DeSantis’ passionate focus on increasing support for those who have served contributes to the many reasons why our state continues to be the most veteran sought-after and veteran-friendly state in the ‎nation.”

Floridians who are in need of services can connect with Hope Florida by visiting www.HopeFlorida.com or calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).

Hope Florida, launched by First Lady DeSantis in 2021, has been implemented by multiple agencies including The Florida Department of Children and Families, The Florida Department of Elder Affairs, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and The Guardian ad Litem Office. This initiative utilizes Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity and economic self-sufficiency by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits, and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize support and uncover opportunities. These Hope Navigators are essential in helping individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to prosperity, develop long-term goals, map out a strategic plan, and work to ensure all sectors of the community have a ‘seat at the table’ to be a key part of the solution. In addition, Hope Navigators help identify and organize opportunities for Floridians who wish to help their neighbors by connecting community members, including Florida seniors, with volunteer and mentorship opportunities.

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Originally published at https://www.flgov.com/2023/12/22/first-lady-casey-desantis-strengthens-floridas-families-through-hope-florida/

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