Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Constantine.
Hi Matt, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Maryland with three older brothers and was raised by my father. This was pretty unconventional at that time. I attribute much of my passion for social work to having lived this experience. Our dad was, and continues to be, an advocate for addressing inequality and helping those in need. From an early age, I realized that we were extremely fortunate and that there were so many people who were dealing with hardship, pain, and poverty. These experiences helped inform my decision to pursue a degree in sociology and later a master’s in social work from Barry University.
In 2002, I saw a classified ad in the newspaper for a job opening at a nonprofit that served families experiencing homelessness. I was excited when I was given the opportunity to interview for the job at Adopt-A-Family. I was offered a job as a case manager for a homeless prevention program and hit the ground running. I learned many lessons in this role, but the one that has remained at the forefront of my attention over the years is how close many people are to experiencing homelessness. All it takes is a costly car repair, a sick child, a layoff, or an extended illness to render a family unable to pay their rent. I still remember the stories and the families that I had the honor to work with during my time in that program. From there, I was given the opportunity to work in various housing programs owned and operated by Adopt-A-Family. Our founders, predecessors, and board members were visionary in their determination to build and own housing for formerly homeless and low-income Palm Beach County families. I never expected to learn so much about housing development at Adopt-A-Family, but the extensive experience I gained by overseeing the construction, funding, and operations of our housing programs was extremely valuable as I transitioned to become the agency’s CEO in 2014. I have had the honor of serving as Adopt-A-Family’s CEO for the past seven years. It has been a privilege to work with an extremely talented and dedicated group of staff, board members, supporters, and client families over the years.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Our work to provide housing to families experiencing homelessness is constantly met with significant challenges and stressors. The stock of affordable housing in Palm Beach County is incredibly scarce. Knowing that we have to say no to families in need is the hardest part of our job. In addition, our work centers on crisis management which adds a sense of urgency and pressure to our programs. What could be more significant than getting a call from a mom who is sleeping in her car with her two young children? Or a call from a dad of three children who was just served a three-day notice to vacate their apartment. We receive and respond to calls like this every single day. I think the biggest lesson I have learned, and continue to learn, is how I digest and respond to bumps in the road and the crisis of the day. It’s an area that I consistently fall short in, but I am learning to breathe and slow my response mechanism down. I know from experience that if we remain committed to executing our mission to the best of our ability in every situation, we will continue to make a positive impact on our community. I also want to mention that we are not alone in this work. Overcoming obstacles and challenges requires partners. We are fortunate to work with so many great nonprofit agencies, foundations, government entities, and individuals who share in our belief that every child should have a home.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc. is Palm Beach County’s leading nonprofit service provider dedicated to finding housing solutions for homeless and low-income Palm Beach County families experiencing a crisis. Since 1983, the agency has served more than 53,000 families, educating and empowering them to overcome barriers to social and economic growth through programming, attaining and maintaining a stable home, and ultimately working toward a brighter future. The agency’s mission remains centered on strengthening families with children in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. To achieve this mission, the agency provides physical housing units, an emergency shelter, rental assistance, homeless prevention services, youth educational programming, mental health services, and job coaching. Today, we own/operate 131 units of housing/shelter for families, including our most recent program, Julian Place, a newly constructed affordable housing community in Lake Worth. The program is the first of its kind in our area and aims to improve children’s educational outcomes through the provision of stable housing and support services for the family. The vision for Julian Place began in 2014 and includes an innovative partnership with our local elementary school.
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Adopt-A-Family offers a number of ways for individuals, families, and businesses to work with our organization. Financial donations and grants support housing stabilization services, afterschool and summer educational programming for elementary-aged children, and self-sufficiency and empowerment classes for families. Our agency hosts a number of special events including a golf tournament and Tree Lighting Celebration that we would love to welcome new friends to. Our calendar of events and schedule can be found at adoptafamilypbc.org. During the holiday season, we have a Holiday Adopter Program and Santa Shoppe to give donors the opportunity to directly support families who do not have the ability to pay for holiday gifts for their families.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.adoptafamilypbc.org