One man in Palm Beach County is making a difference and helping the voiceless have a voice. Francky Pierre-Paul founded the non-profit A Different Shade of Love. The goal of the organization is to change the perspective of homelessness. He said everyone can do that by listening and understanding.
“If you see somebody holding up a sign, instead of pulling out money out your pocket, have a conversation and ask them their name,” Pierre-Paul told WPTV’s Michael Williams on To the Point.
Pierre-Paul became an advocate after he experienced homelessness in his late teens. He started his non-profit three years ago.
“The passion has been with me all my life. I just didn't know how to spread that passion,” Pierre-Paul said. “The fact that nobody's doing it was an aha moment for me. When I was at my lowest moment, hiding behind a mask, I couldn't find that outlet. I didn't know who to speak to or how to speak to that person. I didn't know there were resources.”
Volunteers with A Different Shade of Love, not only help in the community by delivering food, passing out blankets and giving haircuts to people in need, they also work with Palm Beach County leaders to make sure everyone knows of the resources available.
One program available is the S.M.A.R.T. Landlord campaign. The county partners with landlords to help house people who are homeless or on the brink of becoming homeless. Pierre-Paul said his organization alone has helped approximately 100 people in the past few months.
“Instead of having them get on the streets we can bridge that gap. If you have $800 a month that you make, the county can come in and put the next $300 and instead of you being homeless, you have a home and landlords can get their payments on time,” Pierre-Paul explained.
There are more programs available to help as well. Pierre-Paul said county leaders have been a great help but it also takes everyday people for the crisis of homelessness to be resolved.
“I really feel like having more conversations about this issue can help a lot,” Pierre-Paul said. “A lot of people have opportunities and the means to service and they just don't know how to do it. So being more empathetic, some people can't sympathize, that's okay. But empathize. If you have empathy, enough to open up that conversation, you never know, this resource that you have, can help save a multitude of people.”
Click here to learn more about the A Different Shade of Love organization.