HOPE South Florida leader seeks to ease the way for Broward County’s homeless.
Occupation: Executive director of HOPE South Florida
Family status: Married with three children
Lives in: Fort Lauderdale
Born and raised in South Florida, Robin Martin has a deep passion for the community and wants to make it better for all — especially the homeless. While a teenager, Martin’s parents divorced and his family lost its home. Martin says his personal experience with homelessness shaped his interest in working with families in crisis.
As executive director of Hope South Florida, Martin has created key partnerships with Christian community services and churches to provide housing, mentoring relationships and community one-stop service centers for families in need. “We are making a tangible difference and we are the only ones doing this type of service,” Martin says.
Beyond a meal, Martin tries to give the homeless a place to live. “In temporary shelters, they are still homeless,” he says. Under his leadership, HOPE has put Fort Lauderdale on the forefront of obtaining a new style of housing funded by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called Rapid re-Housing. Since 2012, HOPE has secured HUD funds for over 100 new apartment units for homeless families and veterans in Fort Lauderdale.
Martin says the real face of homeless is not the person who you see lying on the street. It’s the mother with young children: “That’s who we are helping.”
From Martin: “No single mom or child should be forced to sleep on the street because of unfortunate circumstances. That is unacceptable and what we want to stop.”
About Martin: “Robin is an innovator leader in the nonprofit world. He is tackling a big issue, but he is creative and passionate in addressing and solving homelessness.” — Kathleen Cannon, executive director, United Way of Broward County
Cindy Krischer Goodman