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Michelle Diffenderfer and Katrina Long Robinson

Event Will Shine a Light on Homeless Veterans                        

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL. – February 14, 2024 –  On any given night, more than 1,855 people in Palm Beach County do not have a safe, permanent place to call home. It is a devastating reality for so many and one that is in stark contrast to the view that is seen when thinking of Palm Beach County.

Working to reduce that number is The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, a nonprofit created nearly 30 years ago to generate awareness through advocacy, education, and community outreach, and funding to close gaps in services through collaborative efforts.

Each year, the organization hosts its most significant fundraising event, The Mayor’s Ball, bringing together community leaders, philanthropists and changemakers to raise crucial funding to support collective efforts to end homelessness. The 2024 event will kick off at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 6th at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. The black-tie gala promises an evening filled with excitement and festivity starting with cocktails and followed by dinner and dancing.

“We are very much looking forward to hosting the 10th Annual Mayor’s Ball,” shared CEO of The Homeless Coalition, Dr. Tomara Mays. “This year, our focus will be on recognizing homeless veterans. Homeless veterans are a special group of individuals who gave so selflessly but have since struggled to overcome what they experienced during their service to our country. Riddled with mental and sometimes physical illness, they truly need our support. This year, we will honor and pay tribute to these men and women.”

While the event focuses on recognizing homeless veterans, there are so many others who are experiencing the same challenges. Children, teens, adults, even entire families, can all be at risk of homelessness. In fact, during the 2022- 2023 school year, the School District of Palm Beach County identified nearly 5,000 children as homeless and The Homeless Coalitions’ Project Homeless Connect program helped 400 individuals.

“This issue is very complex, but it can be boiled down to two main causes – unemployment and a lack of affordable housing. Rising rental prices leave many residents with the burden of spending 30-50% of their income on housing,” added Dr. Mays.

Since its inception, the Mayor’s Ball has netted more than $1.5 million for homeless services, impacting nearly 2,100 people moving them from homelessness into permanent housing. Monies from the event break barriers through combined efforts supporting Gulfstream Goodwill, The Lord’s Place, Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc., and the Homeless Outreach Team who all work tirelessly to get individuals and families to a safe and stable place.

Michelle Diffenderfer, Katrina Long-Robinson, Christian Bergstrom, and Paul Dumars Jr. will all serve as co-chairs of the event with Congressman Brian Mast, Kate Capaldo Arrizza, Julia Dattolo, Sophia Eccleston, and Shenetria Moore serving as honorary co-chairs.

Sponsorships, tables, and tickets starting at $550 are available and can be purchased at https://MayorsBall2024.givesmart.com. For additional information, please contact Celissa Stringer at cstringer@hcpbc.org or call 561.355.9912.

The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc., is a 501(c) 3 corporation located at 345 S. Congress Ave in Delray Beach, FL 33445. For more than 30 years, the Coalition has served to generate awareness through advocacy, education, and community outreach and to motivate a community-wide response to raise funding, resources, partners, and involved citizens to end homelessness in Palm Beach County. Visit www.homelesscoalitionpbc.org.