Volunteers of America of Florida is a faith-based, human service organization that has served Florida communities for decades. We are the first to step forward and engage Floridians in need to create positive life changes through compassionate support services. We provide affordable housing and supportive services to homeless Veterans, families with children, and individuals coping with mental illness and disabilities, as well as vulnerable Seniors.
Nationally, Volunteers of America touches the lives of 1.5 million people a year and counting. Volunteers of America is one of the nation’s largest, established comprehensive human services organizations with 16,000 mission-driven professionals, dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Founded in 1896, the faith-based nonprofit has programs in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Volunteers of America of Florida contributes to this total by providing health services, and housing to those in need. We are recognized as the largest provider of supportive housing for homeless veterans in Florida, serving 17 communities from Pensacola to Key West.
Volunteers of America of Florida engages Floridians in need to create positive life changes through compassionate support services.
About our National Organization
Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 by social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth. They envisioned a movement dedicated to “reaching and uplifting” the American people. On behalf of the organization, the Booths pledged to “go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand.” That declaration continues to guide Volunteers of America’s outreach efforts today.
The name Volunteers of America was selected when the organization was founded 127 years ago. It signified that the organization was comprised of people voluntarily choosing to help others. Our services are delivered through a partnership of professional staff, volunteers and other community supporters.
When Maud and Ballington Booth thought of names for their new organization 127 years ago, one word remained prominent: “volunteer.” In those days, a volunteer was anyone who was committed to a mission or cause. Since its earliest days, when Volunteers of America brought food, medicine and comfort to people not served by other charities, volunteering has been instrumental in every aspect of the organization’s ministry of service.
The Early 1900s
In turn-of-the-century America, there was no shortage of work to do. The Volunteers moved into tenement districts to care for people in poverty. They organized day nurseries and summer camps, provided housing for single men and women, and established the nation’s first system of halfway houses for released prisoners.
The Great Depression of the 1930s stretched the nation’s private social welfare system almost to the breaking point. Volunteers of America mobilized to assist the millions of people who were unemployed, hungry and homeless. Relief efforts included employment bureaus, wood yards, soup kitchens and “Penny Pantries” where every food item cost one cent.
Volunteers of America served proudly on the home front during both world wars. The group operated canteens, overnight lodging and Sunday breakfasts for soldiers and sailors on leave. Affordable housing and child care were provided for defense industry workers. Further, Volunteers of America spearheaded community salvage drives during World War II, collecting millions of pounds of scrap metal, rubber and fiber for the war effort.
Our special mission in housing dates to our organization’s founding. Volunteers of America helped accelerate real estate development during the 1960s by taking part in numerous federal housing programs. Since 1968, Volunteers of America has developed over 300 affordable housing complexes in more than 30 states.
In the 1970s, the organization emerged as a major provider of professional long-term nursing care. Today, Volunteers of America not only offers home health care and related services, but owns and operates several nursing facilities, and assisted and independent living residences.
Now in our second century of service, Volunteers of America is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive human services organizations, touching the lives of more than 1.5 million people each year in hundreds of communities across the United States.