RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — There’s new housing for people experiencing homelessness in Riviera Beach. It’s a project three years in the making.
“We’re just excited for today,” Diane Lewis said.
Lewis and her husband are the founders of Feeding Hope Village.
“We typically have a food pantry where we provide nutritional food, free to the families of this community and then we do social services,” she said.
On Monday, they officially expanded their services to include housing.
“Our survey showed about a thousand people who were in need of assistance with their living arrangement,” Lewis said. “A lot of hidden homelessness.”
For the couple, it’s a full-circle moment.
“My husband and I are in our younger days we didn’t have a place to stay, and we never forgot that,” she said. “We never forgot the people who reached out to us when we needed someone.”
Lewis said with help from Community Partners they were able to renovate the home for two, which is right next door to their church.
“We all wrap around these folks and help build their financial capacity, their social and emotional capacity,” Scott Hansel said.
Hansel is the CEO of Community Partners South Florida. He says they currently have 39 other properties throughout Palm Beach County. But partnerships like this are critical.
“The opportunities just aren’t surfacing as much right now because the real estate market is really going crazy and it’s gotten more expensive to do this,” he said. “If one is falling behind, all of us are falling behind. I think that’s the importance of this. We are not just helping this person, we are helping to build a community, build neighborhoods.”