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Lawyer couple commits $1 million toward homeless prevention in Broward County

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The Manne family partnership with HOPE South Florida and Legal Aid Service of Broward County is designed to curb evictions and keep families housed

Husband-and-wife team Bob and Grace Manne, on the left, are donating $1 million over five years to fund legal services to curb evictions. The couple’s decades-long career as attorneys inspired the program, which is being executed by a collaborative effort between HOPE South Florida and Legal Aid Service of Broward County. Also pictured are Dr. Ted Greer, Jr., CEO of HOPE South Florida, and Debra T. Koprowski, deputy executive director at Legal Aid Service of Broward County.

Broward County residents facing imminent homelessness now have one more option to prevent being evicted from their homes — accessing services from the newly formed Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program (MFHP).

Husband-and-wife team Bob and Grace Manne are donating $1 million over five years to fund legal services to curb evictions. The couple’s decades-long career as attorneys inspired the program, which is being executed by a collaborative effort between HOPE South Florida and Legal Aid Service of Broward County. MFHP Program supports staff at both organizations, allowing them to provide free legal and other support services to anyone in Broward County who is eligible.

For more than 40 years, the Mannes have been actively working to strengthen the fabric of Broward County by giving back, but the current housing crisis inspired them to focus on evictions as the origin of many homeless cases.

“The homelessness crisis’ impact cannot be ignored, and we felt compelled to find a way to stop homelessness before it happens,” said Bob and Grace Manne. “By seeding a program that allows Legal Aid Service of Broward County and HOPE South Florida to collaborate to help families and individuals avoid eviction-related homelessness, we can keep people in their homes and maintain their dignity during difficult times. Preventing homelessness is far more strategic and beneficial to the community and the families involved than attempting to address the problem after the eviction has happened and people are living on the streets.”

To receive free legal and other support services offered through MFHP, one must be facing imminent homelessness because of an eviction. Based on an evaluation, HOPE South Florida will help to determine if legal assistance is needed and refer individuals or families to the Legal Aid Service of Broward County.

“Safe, decent, affordable housing is an important key to ending homelessness,” according to Dr. Ted Greer, Jr., CEO of HOPE South Florida. “Once someone loses their home, and the security and dignity it brings, it is much harder to help someone get re-housed. Through the collaborative effort that the Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program is making possible, we will be able to prevent the tragedy of an individual or family losing their home.”

To provide a full gamut of services necessary for a successful program, Legal Aid will provide legal services and collaborate with HOPE South Florida. Together, they will provide or refer people for case management services, including housing, employment assistance, mental-health counseling, substance abuse, and more.

“Legal Aid Service of Broward County is excited to join forces with Hope South Florida and the Manne Foundation Homeless Prevention Program to address the legal issues for those facing imminent homelessness,” said Debra T. Koprowski, deputy executive director at Legal Aid Service of Broward County. “Imminent homelessness almost always involves the inability to pay rent, mortgage, or association fees, resulting in the home’s loss. We hope to assist those facing imminent homelessness through these joint efforts.”

Legal Aid Service of Broward County expects to address garnishment of wages or bank account; loss of driver’s license; inability to work due to loss of immigration documents, child support and alimony obligations, receipt and/or enforcement; and obtaining and reinstating public benefits.

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