Click here to take a virtual tour of FKOC!
Every human being needs a home, but many here in Paradise are without one.
any given day in Monroe County there are men, women, and children who are homeless, living and sleeping in the street, the mangroves,
vehicles, derelict vessels, or other inappropriate and dangerous
Most of them lack not
only housing but social services, adequate nutrition, medical attention, and personal
hygiene facilities. They are individuals and families at risk.
Fortunately, there is
The Florida Keys
Outreach Coalition offers hope and solutions. Incorporated with
non-profit status in 1992. FKOC provides homeless outreach and
shelter with essential supportive services in Monroe County, Florida.
We offer a
solution-oriented, multi-stage program based on self-sufficiency,
stability, and opportunity.
Please explore this site and
learn more about FKOC. Your knowledge, understanding, and participation, are essential to our continued success.
Stephen E. Braddock, Ph.D.
President & Executive Director
Samuel J. Kaufman, Esq.
The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition does not discriminate based upon race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, socio-economic status, sexual identity, marital status, religious beliefs or any other category protected by law.
July 15, 2014
FKOC thanks Naval Air Station Key West for participating in the 2014 Fed feed Families food drive and supporting the Loaves and Fish Food Pantry! Since the campaign began in 2009, Federal workers have donated and collected 24.1 million pounds of food and other non-perishable items to support families across America. So far this year over 525,000 pounds of food have been donated by Federal employees to feeding programs across the nation.
June 26, 2014
Greg Sullivan & Waste Management Receive
FKOC Outstanding Business Partner Award
FKOC CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock (R) presented an "Outstanding Business Partner Award" this week to Greg Sullivan & Waste Management in appreciation for their support of FKOC's efforts to create new living units for the physically challenged, intact families, and the renovation of Peacock Supportive Living Apartments for individuals with a serious mental illness. "Greg has been a champion for FKOC and good friend for over 15-years," Braddock said.
Sheriff Ramsay Donates Car to FKOC
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay presents Rev. Stephen E. Braddock with the keys and title to a Ford Crown Victoria. The vehicle will be used by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition to help transport residents of Peacock Supportive Living to doctor, counseling, & other appointments. Sponsorship of Peacock Supportive Living was assumed by FKOC in April. The program serves 38-adults living with serious mental illness by providing residential & supportive services. For information call: 305-295-8683
PUBLIX SUPPORTS FKOC
Kevin Piper(L), Manager of the Southernmost Publix in the Continental U.S.A., presents a $5,000 check to Rev. Stephen E. Braddock in support of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. Piper made the presentation on behalf of Publix Supermarkets Charities Executive Director, Kelly Williams-Puccio. "Our foundation was established by Publix founder, Mr. George Jenkins, to improve life in our communities," explained Puccio in a written statement. "We believe your organization exemplifies that mission and we are pleased to play a part in your efforts."
The mission of the FKOC is to provide homeless individuals and families with the resources and opportunities by which to attain residential, financial and personal stability and self-sufficiency. To learn more or to seek assistance with housing, food, or other basic needs call 1-800-528-6595
April 9, 2014
FKOC Celebrates the Past and
Prepares for the Future
County Judge Peary Fowler administered the 2014/15 Oath of Office to the Board of Directors of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition during our 22nd Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon.
(L-R) Dr. Eric Nichols, Rev. Stephen Braddock, Rev. Randy Becker, Jenna Staufer, John Sangston, Niels Hubbell, Dr. Pat Major, William Malpass, Ron Roberts, Sam Kaufman, Jimmy Weekley and Judge Fowler.
(not pictured: Rev. Larry Schenk, Jen George-NIchol, Rev. Sarah Fowler)
Thanks to One Island Family Fellowship for hosting this event!
For more pictures and awards, click here!
February 19, 2014
Food Pantries Supported by
Key West Food and Wine Festival
The Key West Food and Wine Festival presents three local community food pantries with a donation of $700 each from the proceeds of this year's Duval Uncorked event. From left to right are Rev Steve Torrence, representing MCC's Cooking with Love program; Mark Certonio of the Festival; Rev. Stephen Braddock, representing FKOC's Loaves and Fish Food Pantry; and Mindy McKenzie of the Festival. Not pictured is a representative from Star of the Sea Outreach Mission. (Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
February 2, 2014
Presbyterians Pledge Ongoing Support for Homeless Housing
Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCPC) and the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) have been collaborating together to address homelessness and hunger in Key West for over a decade. Last year their partnership successfully won them a competitive grant in the amount of $134,000 from The Presbytery of Tropical Florida, the governing body serving Presbyterian faith communities from Fort Pierce to Key West.
The funds were used to help create new supportive housing units for disabled individuals and families. The fully ADA compliant and handicapped accessible apartments are the first for the FKOC. More housing units for elderly and disabled persons are planned for the future according to FKOC President & CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock. "I hope this is just the start of addressing a serious unmet need in our community", Braddock said. "There are many people experiencing homelessness as a result of disability and very few options are available to meet their special needs."
Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church pastor, Rev. Dr. Larry Schenk agrees. "Our church and the Tropical Florida Presbytery are deeply committed to continuing our partnership with FKOC," Schenk pledged. "We are confident that our financial investment will further the cause of the Kingdom of Christ by ministering to those who are in great need in our community."
Putting their faith into action and their "money where their mouth is", so to speak, the Presbyterians have just pledged an additional $60,000 over three years to help FKOC provide case management, transportation, food assistance, and life-skills opportunities for individuals and families recovering from homelessness and its underlying causes.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(L-R) FKOC President & CE0, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock is presented with a ceremonial check by Peace Covenant Pastor Rev. Larry Schenk and Mission Outreach Committee Chair Mr. Niels Hubbell.
January 27, 2014
Episcopal Charities supports Loaves & Fish Food Pantry for 14th Consecutive Year!
(L-R) Fr. Tom Sterner, Bonnie Weaver, Fr. Stephen Braddock, and Rev. Donna Dambrot
Episcopal Charities of SE Florida (ECSEFL) presented a check today at their Oakland Park offices to FKOC for the Loaves and Fish Food Pantry, a collaborative anti-hunger initiative sponsored by FKOC and St. Peter's Episcopal Church. ECSEFL has contributed over $150,000 since the pantry was founded by Fr. Stephen and Fr. Paul Rasmus in 2000!
January 13, 2014
BI-LO Holdings Foundation invests $10,000 in FKOC!!
The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) has been chosen by the Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation to be a grant recipient. "Making personal connections with local organizations and giving back to those in need is the motivating force behind who we are as a company," said Mary Kellmanson, President of Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation. "We are thankful that we are able to develop and grow partnerships with organizations like FKOC and help them improve the lives of our neighbors." Foundation representatives presented a ceremonial check during a special reception to FKOC's Supportive Services Director Stephanie Kaple (R). FKOC President & CEO, Fr. Stephen Braddock, said the funds provided by Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation will benefit some of Key West's most vulnerable individuals and families. "Every cent will be used to provide relief to food insecure individuals and families through our Loaves and Fish Food Pantry", Braddock pledged.
January 9, 2014
(Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
Monroe County Homeless Services Continuum-of-Care (CoC) board Secretary Diana Flenard presents FKOC’s Supportive Services Director Stephanie Kaple with the CoC Board Appreciation Award for her work on the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Survey and development of a countywide Coordinated Assessment System. Stephanie was also sworn in as a CoC board member, along with FKOC Neece Center Manager Chris Welts. FKOC CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock declined to serve another term as CoC Chairman but will remain on the Executive Committee and as Legislative Liaison.
Niels Hubbell, board member of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, presents a plaque to the Key West Building Departmentfor their assistance in creating four new living units at FKOC's Poinciana Plaza facilities. Two of these units are fully ADA compliant, representing the first available housing at FKOC for physically handicapped clients.
City Building Official Ron Wampler (right) accepted the plaque.
December 7, 2013
Key West's Annual Christmas Parade
(photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
FKOC Clients, Staff, and Board Members all celebrated in Key West's Annual Christmas Parade on Saturday Night!
Lots of fun, laughter, and Christmas Spirit enjoyed by all.
November 14, 2013
FKOC graduate, George Norrell, talks about his experiences with homelessness and his bright future ahead that may include a cooking show on national television.
October 15, 2013
Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts
(L-R) Rev. Larry Schenk, Niels Hubbell, Rev. Tom Sterner,
Stephanie Kaple, Rev. Stephen Braddock, Sam Kaufman
FKOC received our Certificates of Occupancy today for four new housing units! Two are fully ADA compliant handicapped accessible for disabled individuals and two are for intact homeless families. Residents will begin moving on Wednesday. ... This was a collaborative project between FKOC and our friends at Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church completed with all private foundation funding.
...and a follow up from The Key West Citizen
October 17, 2013
New homes, fresh starts Housing dreams come true for outreach clients
BY TERRY SCHMIDA Citizen Staff
Home is where the heart is.
And for some lucky clients of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) for the homeless, hearts are swelling this week, as they prepare to move into newly refurbished homes at the Poinciana property on Duck Avenue.
"This place is perfect for me," said Jim Evens, a terminally ill hepatitis C sufferer with mobility issues. "I have a hard time climbing stairs these days, and even getting into the shower can be a problem. This place, though, is somewhere that I can focus on inner peace and being joyful. It's going to make a 100 percent difference in my quality of life."
Officially, the new digs are described by the FKOC as Transitional Supportive Housing. The units are the first on the Poinciana property to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They're also the first coalition homes to offer space to couples with children.
The four units were built into two existing concrete single family homes on the former Navy housing site, with couples, with or without children, and the physically challenged in mind. The $200,000 total cost of the work was provided by the Jubilee Foundation, and Beaver Farm Foundation, in conjunction with Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Contractor Niels Hubbell donated his labor, and additional help was provided by employees of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Coast Guard.
The furniture was all donated, though the FKOC bought all the appliances brand-new.
Each unit has about 450 square feet of living space and conveniences such as custom child proofing in the family apartments, and low-level light switches in the homes built for the physically challenged
Already, the FKOC has housing available for single men at the William M. Neece Center for Homeless Recovery, on Patterson Avenue, and at Sunrise House, Sunshine House, and Sunrich House, at Poinciana. Housing facilities for single women, with or without children, include Sunflower and Sunlight House, also at Poinciana.
"We're seeing increased demand for housing for the elderly and frail," said FKOC President and CEO the Rev. Stephen Braddock. "It's a growing challenge for us, as many people are beginning to outlive their resources."
Braddock stressed the units were built for very low income adults, with preference given to chronically homeless individuals and families.
The sliding scale rental rates can run from $300 on the low end, to no higher than $450.
The coalition never charges extra for children, and most prospective renters are on some sort of disability, Braddock said.
Case Manager Stephanie Kaple said the coalition is always pleased to be able to offer new housing opportunities to its clients.
"We were putting finishing touches on the places this weekend, and talking about how cool it is that people who have been living in shelters now have a place to live," Kaple said.
"It's something most of us take for granted."
All four units have already been rented out, but the coalition is maintaining a waiting list, Braddock said.
For more information about the apartments, or the FKOC in general, call 305-294-0304, or visit fkoc.org.
FKOC President and Monroe County Homeless Services CoC Chairman, Rev. Stephen Braddock, was among board members of the Florida State Coalition for the Homeless for a meeting last week with Esther Jacobo (center front), Interim Secretary of the Florida Dept. of Children and Families. Rev. Braddock has been working on statewide legislative and funding issues related to addressing homelessness in the Sunshine State. Florida has the 3rd highest population of homeless in the nation, with 25% of the country's homeless children. There are over 68,000 homeless children in Florida public schools. Secretary Jacobo assured Fr. Stephen that "the Florida Keys have a friend in Tallahassee."
FKOC CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock congratulates Alisa Bazo on receiving her GED
Alisa, age 55, is a graduate of FKOC and is starting her second year as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer under the auspices of the National Coalition for the Homeless working full time with the FKOC team. Her first year of service earned her an education scholarship. She will begin studies in January to become a Certified Addictions Counselor! She will share her amazing story of recovery from addiction and homelessness on Good Morning Florida Keys with Jenna Stauffer. Watch Friday, October 11 on Comcast Channel 87 or on ATT U-verse Channel 19 at 7am, 8:30am, or 7pm. Or, on the world wide web at www.weyw19.com
September 26, 2013
Sheriff's Office Supports FKOC
(photo by Deputy Becky Herrin)
Sheriff Rick Ramsay presented a check this week to Reverend Stephen Braddock in support of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC). The Sheriff's Office supports Reverend Braddock's efforts to lift people out of homelessness and set them on the path to self sufficiency. Reverend Braddock thanked the sheriff for his steadfast support and partnership with FKOC.
August 28, 2013
City Manager Visits FKOC
Key West City Manager Bob Vitas spent his morning with FKOC CEO Rev. Stephen Braddock, visiting the five FKOC supportive housing facilities and Food Pantry. He also toured our newly constructed units for disabled individuals and families. Mr. Vits is working on a strategic plan to better address the needs of chronically homeless individuals.
August 20, 2013
Mr. Neece Returns to Visit the Neece Center
Mr. Neece recently returned to FKOC's Neece Center where he visited with clients, sharing his personal story and listening to theirs.
July 1, 2013
Mr. Neece Visits FKOC
Rev. Stephen Braddock started his 14th-year as CEO of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition with a special visit from Mr. William Neece and his grandson Beau Neece. FKOC's Neece Center for Homeless Recovery was dedicated to Mr. Neece in 2003 and he was presented the Key to the City of Key West by then Mayor Jimmy Weekley in recognition for being a founding member of FKOC and in appreciation for laying the financial foundation for the organization's future success.
(picture courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(L-R) Mr. Neece; Beau Neece; Neece Center Manager, Chris Welts; FKOC CEO, Rev. Braddock. Learn more: http://youtu.be/WyvIIgve7mY
June 25, 2013
Sheriff Rick Ramsay spent the morning visiting all of the FKOC facilities. He shared lunch with Rev. Braddock to celebrate a successful first year of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and FKOC collaborating on the Care4You Program which helps ex-offenders transition back into society with stable housing and support. Thirty-two men and women continued the recovery they started while in custody by transitioning to FKOC and focusing on attaining lives of sobriety, self-sufficiency and independence.
Florida Keys Outreach Coalition CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock presented a Board Appreciation Award to Choice Storage for their support of FKOC. The award was presented during the Key West Chamber of Commerce After Hours social, hosted at the new Choice Storage facility.
(L-R) Choice Manager, Stacey Stansel; Rev. Braddock; Assistant Manager, Jim Sullivan;
and owners Ramon Oyarzun and Charlie Acevedo.
June 19, 2013
FKOC Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members
The FKOC Board of Directors was pleased to welcome two new members during their June meeting.
Jenna Stauffer and Dr. Pat Major are flanked by CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock and Chairman, Samuel Kaufman after taking the oath of office.
May 21, 2103
Art Supports Food Pantry
Community champion Erika Biddle presents a $1,600 check to the Reverend Stephen E. Braddock on behalf of artist Pam Eden and Frangipani Gallery owner Fran Decker. The funds were raised through a recent exhibition of Eden's watercolor paintings displayed at Decker's Duval Street gallery. The funds will help support the Loaves and Fish Food Pantry, a collaborative anti-hunger initiative between the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Episcopal Charities of Southeast Florida and St. Peter's Church.
May 9, 2013
Cruise Foundation Supports Florida Keys Outreach Coalition for the Homeless
(Photo Courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(KW) Officers and crew from Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Sea toured all of the FKOC residential facilities and visited with individuals and families recovering from homelessness before presenting FKOC President & CEO, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock with a donation on behalf of Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). FCCA has supported the FKOC for the past 10-years.
April 30, 2013
Cecil Bain Retires after 10-Years Helping the Homeless
(L-R) FKOC Chairman, Sam Kaufman; FKOC Program Manager, Chris Welts; Cecil Bain; & FKOC President & CEO, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock
Cecil Bain, a life long Key Wester, is retiring at the end of April after working with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition providing outreach, information and referal to homeless individuals and families for the past 10-years. Bain previously worked for Monroe County Social Services, A Positive Step of Monroe County, and AIDS Help before joing the FKOC team in 2003. He is an active Rotarian and serves on the advisory board of the Salvation Army. He will continue to serve the homeless as an FKOC volunteer.
FKOC Staff and Volunteers gather at the Neece Center to honor and to thank Cecil on his final day of work.
Catholic Charities Chief Honored
(photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(L-R) FKOC Chairman, Sam Kaufman; Catholic Charities CEO, Deacon Richard Turcotte; FKOC CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock
Deacon Richard Turcotte, Ph.D., was honored this week by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) in recognition of his service to the homeless and needy in Monroe County.
Turcotte is CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, which encompasses Monroe. FKOC President and CEO, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock, presented Deacon Turcotte with the annual Edward "Capt'n" Kidd Humanitarian Award during the group's 21st anniversary celebration and awards luncheon. The award was established in 2005 by Legacy Films, producer of the award winning movie Have You Seen Clem, a "docu-dram-edy" which was shot partially in Key West and prominently featured Edward Kidd, a homeless man known for his generosity and humanitarian spirit. www.seeclem.com Kidd died in 2005.
In a written statement, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski told Fr. Braddock, "In honoring Deacon Turcotte you honor all those who collaborate with him through Catholic Charities. But, more importantly, this honor also highlights the need for collaboration and cooperation among the various helping agencies of our community so that through this synergy the needy can be effectively helped."
The Archbishop went on to congratulate the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. "Through you work you show yourselves not only as the neighbors of those who find themselves in difficulty you also show yourselves as their brothers and sisters through a solidarity that is not only affective but also effective."
The mission of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition is to provide homeless individuals and families with the resources and opportunities by which to attain residential, financial and personal stability and self-sufficiency. Braddock said Turcotte was a "great partner, a strong advocate, and a true friend of the Keys community."
Key West Mayor Proclaims Day
of Recognition for National Service
Americorps/VISTA Volunteers Honored
(photo courtesy of the City of Key West)
Key West Mayor Craig Cates has proclaimed April 9th, 2013 as Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service in the Southernmost City of the Continental United States. Cates is among dozens of U.S. Mayors and the Corporation for National and Community Service in proclaiming the first ever day of recognition to highlight the impact of national service and thank individuals serving in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs across the country.
Americorps/VISTA Volunteers Tony Sakis and Alisa Bazo were commended for their full-time service providing homeless outreach and education with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition under the auspices of the National Coalition for the Homeless www.NationalHomeless.org
Photo: (L-R) Tony Sakis, Alisa Bazo, Mayor Craig Cates.
Neece Center Celebrates a Decade!
click here for full story from
the Key West Citizen
March 25, 2013
Congressman Garcia visits FKOC
Congressman Joe Garcia visited the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) this week and commended Americorps/VISTA volunteers Tony Sakis and Alisa Bazo for their extraordinary service to the homeless. Sakis and Bazo are assigned to FKOC by Americorps/VISTA and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Corporation for National and Community Service announced the first ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service to be held on April 9, 2013. The goals of this day are to highlight the impact of national service and thank individuals serving in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs across the country. Mayor Craig Cates is participating along with other U.S. mayors and will be presenting Sakis and Bazo with a special proclamation during the April 2nd City Commission meeting.
(L-R) FKOC President, Rev. Stephen Braddock, Tony Sakis, Alisa Bazo, Congressman Joe Garcia.
(photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
Episcopal Charities funds Key West Food Pantry
Episcopal Charities of Southest Florida recently contributed $8,100 to the Loaves and Fish Food Pantry for provision of non-perishable groceries to needy individuals and families in Key West. Episcopal Charities has provided over $150,000 in grant funds since the program was established over 12 years ago. The pantry is a collaberative effort between the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and St. Peter's Episcopal Church.
Pictured above: Rev. Stephen E. Braddock and Rev. Sarah Fowler display a ceremonial check. (Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
Biddle Honored as FKOC Unsung Hero
FKOC Chairman, Sam Kaufman; FKOC Deputy Director, Gina Pecora; Erika Biddle; FKOC President and CEO, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock
The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) honored Erika Biddle as their Unsung Hero and Homeless Advocate of the Year during the annual recogniton luncheon sposored by the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. Biddle spent most of 2012 producing an inspiring multi-media exhibiton of art titled "Hidden in Plain View", a powerful expose of the too often forgotten and disenfranchised members of our One Human Family.
National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day 2012
Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, Monroe County Social Services Director Sheryl Graham, Mayor Craig Cates, and FKOC President & CEO Rev Stephen Braddock prepare for the National Homelss Persons' Memorial Day on Dec. 21st
Key West, December 5, 2012
During Tuesday's Key West City Commission meeting, Mayor Craig Cates and Commissioner Jimmy Weekley proclaimed Dec 21st National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. The memorial, always held on the longest night of the year, is a reminder to the community that during this season of giving and compassion, there are many who slip through the cracks.
"In this season of peace and goodwill, the citizens of Key West are encouraged to commit themselves to promoting compassion and concern for all members of our One Human Family, especially those who are poor and homeless," reads the proclamation.
On Friday, December 21st, at 3:00pm, at least 50 homeless people who died in Monroe County in 2012 will be remembered during a memorial service held at the FKOC vault in the historic Key West Cemetery. Two infants and a number of veterans are among that 50, according to Rev. Stephen Braddock, President of the Florida keys Outreach Coalition. The public is invited.
As the proclamation declares, by "remembering those who have died on the streets, the cause of ending homelessness is kept urgent; as is the community's collective commitment to preventing such deaths in the future."
November 14, 2012
FKOC was very pleased to participate in the Key West Business Guild's November Mixer & Key West Police Department's Holiday Toy Drive Kick Off Block Party. Pictured at the FKOC booth are Americorps/Vista Volunteers Tony Sakis and Alisa Bazo. Tony and Alisa have been assigned to FKOC by the National Coalition for the Homeless for a full year and have been busy conducting outreach & education throughout the community.
FKOC Chief Elected to Florida State Homeless Coalition Board
(Clearwater Beach, FL) The Reverend Stephen E. Braddock, President & CEO of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) was elected to the Florida Coalition for the Homeless (FCH) board of directors during the group's annual meeting in Clearwater Beach on Wedneday, September 26.
The statewide FCH supports local coalitions and service providers through education, advocacy, organizing, and technical assistance. Braddock has headed the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition since 2000.
Anchors Aweigh Club Commended
(photo Courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(KW) The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition commemorated National Recovery Month (September 2012) by presenting the Anchors Aweigh Club with its Community Partner Award in appreciation for providing a gathering place where residents and visitors can turn for help, support and safety as they recover from alcohol and substance abuse.
For more information about the Club visit www.anchorsaweighclub.com
(Pictured L-R) FKOC Chairman, Sam Kaufman; Club House Manager, Judy Blumenkranz; FKOC President & CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock.)
Caring, sharing part of recovery
Homeless offered new lease on life
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
A few years ago, Alisa Bazo of Key West didn't think much of the homeless men and women living on the island.Panhandlers, she figured, or drunks who didn't want help. Didn't matter.Homelessness wasn't on her mind. After all, she had a $5,000-a-month job at a local guesthouse where she had an ownership share, and a car, she said on a recent afternoon."Until I became homeless myself," said Bazo, 54, recalling the 18-month descent into cocaine that robbed her of everything material and nearly buried her, as she attempted suicide five times.She found herself with nothing to hold onto, nowhere to go, no one to call. She slept for five nights in a neighbor's yard.
Since Aug. 27, Bazo has worked daily helping others recover from living on the streets, offering to share with them her story and guide them through the program that helped her build a new life at Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.
The nonprofit safety net, in the form of a counselor at the Guidance/Care Center who referred her to FKOC, caught Bazo's fall in late 2009.
Now it's people like Bazo who help staff the agency.
There, Bazo and another survivor of addiction and the streets, William Anthony Sakis, recently landed paid internships at FKOC through a grant from the National Coalition for the Homeless. They help with the intake of new clients and keep up with supplies.They also can listen to others drained from addiction, alcoholism, disability or financial collapse and nod in complete understanding.
"We can't make anyone quit drinking or quit drugs," said Sakis, 51, who seven years ago slept on rooftops in downtown Key West. "But when they are ready to stop, we can offer them tools."Both already live in FKOC housing, having found a safe place in the nonprofit's programs and attained sobriety.
The internships provide health insurance, and at the end of the year-long job, a $5,500 grant for education.Bazo marveled at the fact that this year was the first time she has ever had a Labor Day holiday off, with pay, due to the internship.Both are interested in studying addiction counseling. The money, however, will first help them earn their GEDs.
FKOC approached Bazo and Sakis about the internships, originally presented as only an opportunity for one person.Stephanie Kaple, women's program manager at FKOC, said the staff couldn't choose between the two and so she brought the decision to the Rev. Steve Braddock, president and CEO of the nonprofit.Braddock said he would see what he could do. Soon, there were two internships available, both paid by the outside grant. "Here the executive director knows your name, and it's not because there is a problem," Kaple said of Braddock. "They have both been client achievers of the year. We believe in all of our clients. But these two we could see were in line with our goals at FKOC."
These days, Bazo is a smiling presence at the front desk of FKOC's Neece Center, which provides temporary housing for men on Patterson Avenue. She is able to comfort new clients who often come in straight from the streets.
"First of all, they care," said Bazo, of FKOC staff. "We're not just a number. There is no judgment."Bazo shares her experience with others and says that helping people helps her. She is beginning to see in herself what her co-workers tell her they see: a vibrant, compassionate woman.
"I'm getting self-confidence," said Bazo, who arrived at FKOC in November 2009 announcing that she didn't want any friends. Three years at FKOC, first as a client and now as a staff member, Bazo has new ideas."Material things are nothing if you don't have relationships, love of even yourself," Bazo said, originally from Melbourne, who has lived in Key West since 1981.
The work, taxing at times, involves watching people's lives fall apart and sometimes come together.
Sakis, who has been a volunteer at FKOC for two years, said he is learning not to take it personally if someone he cares about relapses.His own sobriety of seven years didn't come easily, he recalled. When his parents died years back, he landed in Key West "looking for something."
It would be years, however, until he had a moment of clarity. His sister died, and Sakis said he had a sudden grasp of his own mortality."I didn't want to be remembered as a drunken cokehead," said Sakis.
Giving to others has become a way of life for Sakis and Bazo, whose co-workers tease her over her dedication to holiday decorations, which she drapes across the living quarters in staggering amounts.But behind the laughter, Bazo and the staff know that such things can matter dearly.
"I have had clients who haven't had a sober Christmas in 20 years," said Bazo.
Publix Continues Founder's Generosity and Concern for Homeless and Needy
(Photo Courtesy of Ronald Roberts)
Publix Store Manager, Kevin Piper, presents a $5,000 check on behalf of Publix Supermarket Charities to Rev. Stephen E. Braddock, President and CEO of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.
Publix is the longest contributing sponsor in FKOC's 20-year history of providing housing and supportive services to individuals and families recovering from homelessness in our community.
The portrait seen hanging above Piper and Braddock is of Publix founder, George Jenkins. Towards the end of his life Jenkins was asked how much he'd be worth if he had not given so much of his money away? Mr. Jenkins responded, "Probably nothing."
Florida Keys Outreach Coalition Elects Board, Celebrates at 20th Annual Meeting
(Photo Courtesy of Digital Island Media)
(KW) Monroe County Judge Peary Fowler (center) cut FKOC's 20th anniversary cake after administering the oath of office to the organization's board of directors for 2012/13. FKOC is the first homeless service provider established in the Florida Keys to aide individuals and families. The group operates five residential facilities and a food pantry. Pictured: Ron Roberts, Bill Malpass, Dr. Eric Nichols, Rev. Randy Becker, Paul Clayton, Rev. Larry Schenck, Gina Pecora, Rev. Sarah Fowler, Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, Rev. Stephen Braddock, Jenny Wolfe and Sam Kaufman. Not pictured: John Sangston, Dr. Rose Chan, Niels Hubbell.
For more pictures and Awards, click here!
Donation Honors Late Homeless Advocate
(photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
The Law Offices of Samuel J. Kaufman contributed $5,000 to the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition in memory of the late Gabriel Mardones. Mardones was former FKOC employee who was killed in a tragic accident last year. The funds will be split between FKOC's Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and the organization's Transitional Supportive Housing Programs. Kaufman is the Chairman of FKOC's Board of Directors.
(L-R) Sam Kaufman, FKOC's Gina Pecora, and Rev. Stephen Braddock
Sailors Help Homeless Coalition
(photo courtesy of Ron Roberts)
Dozens of Sailors from the USS Ft. McHenry volunteered at the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition during their three days of liberty. The massive 610-foot ship is docked in Key West before deploying to the Baltic Sea this week. The sailors pictured above did exterior and interior painting at FKOC's Neece Center for Homeless Recovery.
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(photo by Ron Roberts)
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Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen pays tribute to the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.
(view one minute video)
Presidential Advisor Congratulates FKOC for 20-years of Homeless Services
President Obama's Senior Advisor on Homelessness, Barbara Poppe, congratulates Rev. Stephen E, Braddock on the 20th anniversary of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC). Poppe is Executive Director of the United Stated Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The USICH is comprised of 17 members of the President's Cabinet and Agency Directors. FKOC will be hosting a Key West visit by Director Poppe later this year.
Avael Honored with 7th Annual Edward "Capt'n" Kidd Humanitarian Award
RaiEtte Avael received the 7th annual Edward "Capt'n" Kidd Humanitarian Award during the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. The award is sponsored by Legacy Films, the producer of the movie Have You Seen Clem, a "docu-dram-edy" that featured Edward Kidd, a Key West homeless man well known for his generosity and humanitarian spirit. Kidd died soon after the award winning movie was released. Avael is flanked by last year's honoree, J.T. Thompson and Rev. Stephen Braddock, the awards first recipient. Braddock praised Avael for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the homeless, children, families, elderly, disabled, addicted and mentally ill. She recently retired after a distinguished 33-year career of public service but continues to volunteer and serve on a number of community boards.
Presbyterians Support FKOC/Healthy Start Programs for Homeless Pregnant Women
(Photo Contributed by Ron Roberts)
(KW) Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church and the National Presbyterian Hunger Program recently contributed a combined $3,000 to provide food, diapers, and personal hygiene items to the FKOC/Healthy Start Program which will provide 24-homeless pregnant women and their children with housing, case management, prenatal care and other supportive services over the coming year. Individuals & organizations can sponsor a mom and infant for $400 per month. Call 305-294-0304 for more information.
(Photo:L-R) FKOC President, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock; FKOC Treasurer, John Sangston; FKOC Program Manager, Stephanie Kaple; Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition Administrative Assist., Leah Stockton; Peace Covenant's Pastor, Rev. Larry Schenk; Peace Covenant's Mission Committee Chair and FKOC Board Member, Niels Hubbell
Rite Honors 14 who died homeless
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Navy Honor Guard Members fold a flag that was flown over the US Capitol to honor the homeless veterans who died in Monroe County this year. The Homeless Memorial Day service was held at Key West Cemetery and sponsored by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and One Human Family.
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Cruise Association Renews Support for FKOC
(Photo Courtesy of Carnival Freedom)
Captain Agostino Fazio welcomed Rev. Stephen Braddock and Stephanie Kaple to the bridge of the Carnival Cruise Ship Freedom and presented a contribution on behalf of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to support the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition's residential program for pregnant homeless women.
(L-R) Hotel Manager, Jose Pisa; FKOC Program Manager, Stephanie Kaple; FKOC CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock; Captain Agostino Fazio; Staff Captain, Gordon Buck.
Homeless and pregnant women find a safe haven
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October 4, 2011
United Way Supports Children at FKOC
(Photo Courtesy of Ron Roberts)
(KW) Margie Smith, President of the United Way of the Florida Keys (center) presents a $10,000 ceremonial check to the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition to support the organization's programs for homeless children. Accepting the contribution at FKOC's Children's Activities Center are Program Manager, Stephanie Kaple and President & CEO, Rev. Stephen E. Braddock. The United Way has supported FKOC for 13-consecutive years. FKOC operates five transitional housing facilities with supportive services that accommodate up to 122- homeless individuals and families. An average of 85% "graduate" and transition to some form of permanent housing.
September 27-28, 2011
FKOC KIDS GET A NEW PLAYGROUND
WITH A LOT OF HELP
FROM FR. STEPHEN'S MOM and the U.S. NAVY !
For full story and photos, click here
September 16, 2011
Key West Urgent Care Supports FKOC
(KW)Janet Van Tuyl, R.N., owner of
Key West Urgent Care, presents a $5,000 check to Rev. Stephen Braddock of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition for the Homeless (FKOC). The donation was made in memory of her late husband and clinic founder, Dr. John Van Tuyl. Dr. Van Tuyl was close to Braddock and a strong supporter of FKOC's Transitional Housing programs for individuals and families. He died August 13th at age 64.
KEY WEST CITIZEN ~ July 17, 2011
Program Teaches Husbands,
Dads How to be Loving
February 27, 2011
Loaves and Fish Food Pantry Receives Continued Support from Episcopal Diocese
The Loaves and Fish Food Pantry, a collaborative anti-hunger initiative sponsored by the Episcopal Church and the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) recently received a grant from Episcopal Charities of Southeast Florida in the the amount of $11,500.
Episcopal Charities has contributed more than $100,000 over the past decade to help needy individuals and families in Key West and has pledged continued support for 2012.
The main pantry is located at FKOC's Neece Center for Homeless Recovery, 2221 Patterson Avenue. A second distribution site has been established at St. Peter's Thrift Shop located on Center Street across from St. Peter's Episcopal Church.
Call 295-7580 for assistance or information.
(Photo by Ron Roberts)
(L-R) FKOC Treasurer, John Sangston; FKOC Chairman, Sam Kaufman; FKOC Board Member and St. Peter's Deacon, Sarah Fowler; St. Peter's Rector, Rev. Don Sullivan; FKOC President & CEO, Rev. Stephen Braddock; FKOC Deputy Director, Gina Pecora.
New law, task force aims to protect homeless
Huffington Post: April 28th, 2010
As Homeless Are Brutalized, Florida Passes Hate Crime Protection
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Hate crime law may include homeless
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