Our Story: A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out
New Beginnings, a 501(c)(3) not for profit, was founded in June 2007 by concerned community leaders who saw far too few services available in Central Florida for those losing their jobs and homes. There are few homeless resources in Lake County. Today, New Beginnings is providing those services, in many Central Florida communities, with over 1,000 volunteers to help meet these needs. New Beginnings has 6 transitional houses to serve 30 former homeless people including single men, moms with children, and families who want to recover from their homeless situation.
About Our Founder Steve Smith
Steve moved from Ohio to Florida in 2006 to be a full time resident following a 40 year executive role in the banking and insurance industry. He and other community leaders launched New Beginnings in 2007, as Steve had a strong desire to help the local homeless recover from their situation.
As founder, Steve serves as Treasurer for the Board of the Mid Florida Homeless Coalition, and the Lake County Housing Board.
He was appointed to the Council of Homelessness by Governor Scott.
He has been awarded the Gem of the Hills award by the South Lake Chamber of Commerce in 2010, and the Dream Builders award in 2013.
He and his wife, Linda have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren.
He is a member of Real Life Christian Church and the South Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Steve believes that God has given each of us time, talents and treasures, and we should share these with the homeless to give a hands up and glorify God.
Board Of Directors
- June 2007: New Beginnings launched with 12 volunteers to help the homeless in Clermont
- January 2008: Opened a home for 6 homeless men with training classes
- 2009: Face of Homeless changed focus to mom and kids
- September 2009: Acquired 16 bed home for moms and kids
- October 2009: Opened thrift store in Minneola
- January 2010: Started mentoring program for all residents
- March 2010: Launched Helping Hands Outreach with 4 churches
- created six community events to increase awareness–a pizza tasting event, Art for a Cause, the first fashion show, the golf tournament and a Christmas Gala
- August 2012: Opened Thrift Store in 4 Corners area & expanded Helping Hands Outreach into 4 Corners Area
- August 2013: Opened Learning and Development Center
- July 2013: Acquired home for former homeless families
- November 2013: Acquired 10 bed home for single men
- December 2013: Opened another home for former homeless families
- August 2014: Opened thrift store in Winter Garden
- December 2014: Acquired 4-plex apartment for former homeless
- December 2014: Acquired 10 acres to build 96 affordable apartments
- March 2015: Opened new Thrift Store in Clermont
- January 2016: acquired apartment for 6 working clients
- July 2016: Florida Housing awarded New Beginnings $19 million for affordable housing to be built
- September 2016: Opened drop in centers in Winter Garden and Kissimmee
- November 2016: Expanded Helping Hands Outreach into Winter Garden
- May 2017: celebrating 10 years of ministry at the Mulberry Inn
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