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Providence Family Life Center

Sky

About Our Work

The Providence Family Life Center was founded in 2008 by a social worker with the aim of restoring dignity and respect to individuals who have faced difficult life experiences. The center achieved this goal by providing acceptance, support, education, and access to necessary resources to enhance their emotional well-being. Located in Macomb County, Michigan, the Providence Family Life Center operated as a community outreach organization. They provided meals to the homeless and those in need, offered clothing to individuals and families, ran support groups, provided tutoring and mentoring, and made thousands of successful referrals for housing, healthcare, and other essential needs.

In 2016, I collaborated with Daniel, pooling our expertise in clinical social work and non-profit business management to relocate Providence Family Life Center to Southwest Florida. Today, we are dedicated to addressing the biopsychosocial and environmental conditions that affect individuals and families impacted by natural disasters and other traumatic events in Southwest Florida.

"Prioritizing the gathering of data was important. This involved understanding the demographics of the county including age, race, and population health, as well as social issues such as food insecurity, economics, and employment. A needs assessment revealed that mental health and housing were the top two needs. It was crucial to gain an understanding of how they could best serve their new community in Lee County, Southwest Florida."

Over the next 12 months, we began meeting with community leaders to introduce our services, specifically focusing on housing and mental health programs. Our data revealed a large and growing homeless population, particularly among veterans and children. According to a report from the Florida Policy Institute dated (date), we learned that 1 in 2 Floridians suffered from a serious mental illness. The data also showed that a significant percentage of the homeless population frequently used emergency room services and ended up in local jails. We initiated our work by providing disability application assistance services to help children, youth, and adults living with undiagnosed mental illnesses, particularly those who were homeless, had no income, or lacked access to healthcare. Through our efforts, we were able to assist numerous individuals, including a substantial number of veterans living with conditions such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and co-occurring substance dependence, as well as children with learning and developmental disabilities, and the elderly.

"We recognized the significant need for safe and affordable housing in the community. As a response, we invested in the renovation of four houses to create 2 and 3-bedroom community homes for individuals aged 55 and older who were transitioning out of hospitals and shelters. This initiative provided many people with the opportunity for a fresh start in life, enabling them to transition to assisted living and reconnect with their families."

 

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. It was the first extreme weather event experienced by our agency in Fort Myers. The structural impact of the hurricane on surrounding communities, especially vulnerable and under-resourced populations, will never be forgotten.

 

I became interested in the mental health impacts of natural disasters on vulnerable populations and the agencies that served them before, during, and after a hurricane. I completed my doctoral dissertation aiming to understand how clinical social workers prepared to provide mental health services before, during, and after a major hurricane.

In 2022, Hurricane Ian assaulted Southwest Florida, leaving Lee County devastated. More than 10 feet of storm surge, 50,000 homes destroyed and 161 fatalities.

3 days after the storm, Providence Family Life Center was contacted by Lee County Emergency Management to bring our team into the Public and Medical Shelters. We witnessed first hand, the emotional impact of surviving a Category 5 storm; countless individuals sharing their stories about floating for hours in the dark waters of the ocean waiting for rescue teams to arrive.

Providence Family Life Center is a hyper local agency, providing disaster recovery support services.

Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity. Our goal is to help individuals and communities prepare for extreme weather with disaster education and preparedness skills to respond safely and recover stronger.

This is how we do it.

`Dr. Antoinette Kruse, DSW

 

 

Providence Family Life Center is a 501 (c) (3)  Tax Exempt Organization.​

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