Clermont pastor with a passion for helping people is making a world of difference getting homeless families back on their feet.
Clermont Pastor Brian Broadway, who leads the Living Message Church, had been toying with the idea of starting a homeless outreach ministry transforming trailers into makeshift homes he could park in RV parks to house homeless, when he received a phone call about helping a single mom living in a car with three young daughters.
Brian left work early to meet with the lady and she told him her story.
“She was living in an apartment complex and working at the Cagan Crossings Walmart. Her husband walked out, and she couldn’t afford childcare and rent,” Brian says.
The woman was evicted, so she packed up her stuff, loaded her daughters, ages 3, 15, and 16, into her car. However, as they began driving down U.S. Highway 27, the car broke down, barely making it into a nearby parking lot, where they ended up sleeping at night.
“I came home and said, ‘We have to do something,’” says Brian, so he appealed to his congregation and by the end of the service, a lady offered to donate a 30-foot trailer if it could be picked up from Pennsylvania.
“We put the money together, towed the trailer down, prepped it, then went back to that mom and her daughters and moved them into it,” tells Brian, adding that four years later, that mom has an apartment and the 16-year-old daughter, now, 20, owns a home.
Today, 12 donated RVs and/or trailer homes are used for “Housing First,” a program that allows homeless families with children to live in them rent/utilities free for 6-12 months, while Find, Feed and Restore, now a separate nonprofit organization, helps them obtain self-sufficiency through budgeting and money-management classes, counseling, and training.
Additionally, four more programs operate under the Find, Feed and Restore umbrella including, “Homelessness Avoidance,” which helps families stay in their current homes, “Affordable Housing,” homes located on properties Brian purchased in Leesburg, “Restore Lake,” which helps women fresh out of domestic violence shelters, and the “Care Coach,” a bus turned mobile kitchen for food distribution and information sharing for people in need who may not otherwise get word of assistance opportunities available to them.
Brian also purchased an old 30-acre sports training facility in Groveland he’s transforming into a homeless shelter for men and women, set to open by 2022.
The programs are all funded by donations and grants Brian learned to effectively write and apply for himself.
“I always tell people there’s something in each person, something special that you were born for and when you find it, that’s amazing. For me, it’s this,” Brian says, crediting the grace of God for making it all possible. “I love people, I love children, I love seeing people stand again, so to wake up every morning and do what I love, it’s priceless to me.”