When civic leaders note the number of homeless on the streets of Miami has dropped from 8,000 to 1,000, the talk often shifts to the help offered through the years.
And much of that help has come through the Chapman Partnership, founded by the late publishing executive Alvah Chapman.
The nonprofit, which serves the homeless by providing housing, services for children and job placement, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday with a gala at the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami.
Chapman has helped more than 100,000 homeless, including 20,000 children, since 1995. With a 64 percent success rate, the organization has placed many people in permanent residences or transitional housing — four times the national average.
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The organization believes the key to solving homelessness lies in empowering people with ways to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society through stable jobs and affordable housing.
“We provide more than just a bed and a meal,” said Alec Rosen, a spokesman for Chapman. “The empowerment comes with giving the residents the proper care, tools and training, so they become self-sufficient in their life.”
Chapman provides residents with a medical and dental clinic, a psychiatrist and a case manager to help people succeed.
Desmond Meade, a former resident at Chapman, understands the importance of these tools because they helped him get off the streets and into law school.
“My time in Chapman played a significant role in what I am doing now,” said Meade, 48, a graduate of Florida International University’s College of Law. “That was the first place where I was able to go to get my mind right, properties in order and then understanding the grand scheme of things.”
Meade, who lived on the streets in his late 20s, believed that nobody cared about him and the other homeless, but he soon found out that isn’t always the case.
“There’s a great deal of people out there that do care about the homeless and are taking steps to address those issues,” he said.
“Knowing that there are people out there, like Chapman Partnership, that care about humanity as a whole serves as a source of inspiration and motivation.”