The Gonzalez family – Josue, Sandra, their 6-year-old, Dante; and their two dogs, Cleo and Nina – rented a small place in southwest Miami with Josue’s parents living on the other side of the duplex. But when the owners decided to move back in, the Gonzalez family needed a new home. They hoped to find a place near Surfside/Bay Harbor with a good school for Dante. When they did, they were ecstatic.

Move-in day was meant to be a day of great joy, but when the family arrived, they were told the building had been condemned. In the aftermath of the Surfside condominium collapse, such news was becoming more common. The family was devastated. There they were, with box upon box of personal belongings, furniture, tools, toys – everything they owned in the world – and nowhere to go.

That’s when Camillus House stepped in to help. We moved the unexpectedly homeless family into the Radisson on Collins and 92nd. They were able to register Dante for first grade at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor Elementary and we assisted the family with meals, parking, pet fees, and other necessities. Camillus also provided additional help later when the family found a permanent home.

The Gonzalez’s are still adjusting to the difficulties and disruptions they experienced. With Josue’s parents living with them, the new house is crowded. His parents are looking for a place but as seniors on a tight, fixed income, and local rents so steep, it’s difficult. Still, the family feels blessed and grateful for the safety net Camillus House provided through a stressful and uncertain time in their life.

While the causes and reasons for homelessness vary, recent inflation and rising rents have been putting more individuals and families at-risk for eviction, and so we continue our efforts. Camillus – through our Homeless Prevention Assistance remains the “go to” point of contact for any confronting homelessness in the county, manning the County’s Homeless Prevention Helpline.

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