About HSN

OUR GOAL: END HOMELESSNESS

WHO WE ARE

Homeless Services Network (HSN) of Central Florida is committed to the vision of “Everyone Making Their Way Home.” HSN’s mission is to lead Central Florida’s community-wide effort to end homelessness through collaboration, strategy, capacity building, and effective stewardship of knowledge and resources.  HSN accomplishes this mission by delivering excellence in system improvement, ensuring effective resource management, and giving trustworthy expertise while always honoring people.

Under HSN’s leadership, Central Florida has attracted significantly more Federal, State, and local jurisdictional funding towards its regional plan to end homelessness. Funding resources that were once focused on unsuccessful “housing-readiness” interventions were reallocated to data-driven, best-practice interventions that provide housing as the first step in ending homelessness, followed by wrap-around supportive services to retain housing for those most vulnerable community members.

HSN acts as the lead agency for CoC FL-507, also known as the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH), which encompasses the geographic area of Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. As the lead agency, HSN does not provide any direct service to persons experiencing homelessness. Instead, HSN performs coordination, planning, and administrative functions for CFCH partner agencies dedicated to providing direct crisis, recovery, and housing services. HSN’s primary functions are to assist CFCH stakeholders in community-wide planning towards the goal of ending homelessness, maintain a Coordinated Entry System (CES) to prioritize services to those most in need, operate a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to serve clients and provide data to enhance intervention performance, develop a housing pipeline and sustain tenancy for chronically homeless individuals, and maximize the development and utilization of financial resources.

WHAT WE DO

Homeless Services Network (HSN) of Central Florida:

  • is the lead agency for the HUD Continuum of Care FL-507 for the area including Osceola, Seminole and Orange Counties, including the cities of Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford
  • administers more than 32 grants through sub-recipient agencies who provide services to the homeless in our continuum region
  • funds programs that provide transitional and permanent housing, supportive services and ongoing case management for the homeless in our continuum region
  • is recognized as the lead agency for FL-507 by the Florida Department of Children and Families, administering Challenge Grants and Homeless Housing Assistance grants which fund transitional and permanent housing beds, both rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing for the homeless in our continuum region
  • is the lead agency for the Veteran’s Administration Supportive Services for Families (SSVF) grant program, both priority 1 and priority 2 for our continuum region

HISTORY

HSN was established in 1993 by a small group of community advocates and was first led by Ms. Helaine Blum, Esquire. Ms. Blum also co-founded Grand Ave. Economic Development Corp, which offers hundreds of formerly homeless Central Floridians an affordable home. Subsequently, Ms. Marilyn Gordon and Ms. Cathy Jackson led the organization as it began to grow and diversify services throughout the tri-county area. In 2015, Ms. Martha Are joined HSN as Executive Director at a time when regional leaders made a renewed commitment to tackle chronic homelessness in Central Florida. Ms. Are, previously from North Carolina, brought with her expertise in HUDs (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Continuum of Care Program, and a track record of success in implementing evidence-based Housing First/Housing Focused strategies to combat homelessness.