To help Broward County residents access legal protection when facing eviction, the recently formed Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program (MFHP) will provide $1 million over five years to fund legal services for residents facing imminent homelessness.
MFHP was created by the husband-and-wife team Bob and Grace Manne, whose decades-long career as attorneys inspired them to launch the program through a collaborative effort between HOPE South Florida and the Legal Aid Service of Broward County. MFHP supports staff at both organizations, allowing them to provide free legal and other support services to anyone in Broward County who is eligible. After more than 40 years of giving back to the Broward community, the current housing crisis inspired the Mannes to focus on evictions as the origin of many homeless cases.
“The homelessness crisis’ impact cannot be ignored, and we felt compelled to find a way to stop homelessness before it happens,” Bob and Grace Manne say. “By seeding a Program that allows Legal Aid Service of Broward County and HOPE South Florida to collaborate to help families and individuals avoid eviction-related homelessness, we can keep people in their homes and maintain their dignity during difficult times. Preventing homelessness is far more strategic and beneficial to the community and the families involved than attempting to address the problem after the eviction has happened and people are living on the streets.”
To be eligible to receive free legal and other support services offered through MFHP, people must face imminent homelessness because of an eviction. Based on an evaluation, HOPE South Florida will help to determine if legal assistance is needed and refer individuals or families to the Legal Aid Service of Broward County.
“Safe, decent, affordable housing is an important key to ending homelessness,” Dr. Ted Greer, Jr. says, CEO of HOPE South Florida. “Once someone loses their home and the security and dignity it brings, it is much harder to help someone get re-housed. Through the collaborative effort that the Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program is making possible, we will be able to prevent the tragedy of an individual or family losing their home.”
Legal Aid will provide legal services and collaborate with HOPE South Florida to offer or refer people for case management services, including housing, employment assistance, mental health counseling, substance abuse and more.
“Legal Aid Service of Broward County is excited to join forces with Hope South Florida and the Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program to address the legal issues for those facing imminent homelessness,” Debra T. Koprowski says, Deputy Executive Director at Legal Aid Service of Broward County. “Imminent homelessness almost always involves the inability to pay rent, mortgage, or association fees, resulting in the home’s loss. We hope to assist those facing imminent homelessness through these joint efforts,”
For more information, visit Mannehomelessprevention.org.