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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.
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.
For more pictures, click here
(photo by Ron Roberts)
See story and more pictures here
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.
See full story here
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
See full story here
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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