Jul 212017

The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Inc. announces the retirement of Rev. Stephen Braddock as FKOC’s President & Chief Executive Officer after seventeen years of service.   Rev. Braddock’s long career with FKOC began in 2000 as a planned “short six months” to help the homelessness agency transition to new management.  However, Rev. Braddock remained as a leader not just for FKOC’s mission and growth, but also among homelessness advocates in Monroe County.

Under Rev. Braddock’s leadership FKOC has grown from one facility in Key West to now offering more than 160 beds of shelter and permanent housing for men, women, families, the elderly, disabled, and victims of domestic violence who find themselves without a place to call home.  Rev. Braddock was instrumental in the establishment of the Loaves & Fish Food Pantry at FKOC through a partnership with Episcopal Charities of Southeast Florida, creating the first food pantry within Key West city limits.   Most recently FKOC opened an outreach office in the Upper Keys to fully serve all of Monroe County.  FKOC began offering homelessness prevention services in 2015 to better assist those facing temporary financial hardship that would potentially lead to homelessness.

Rev Braddock was a founding and longtime member of Monroe County’s Homeless Services Continuum of Care and nationally respected as an advocate for the most vulnerable members of our society.   Rev Braddock is a past recipient of the Edward “Capt’n” Kidd Humanitarian Award in recognition of his dedication to serving the homeless and impoverished of Key West. Additionally, Rev. Braddock established, with the support of Monroe County Social Services, Monroe County’s first Homeless Memorial Day service, a national day of remembrance for those who die on the streets across the county.

FKOC Board Chairman Samuel Kaufman stated, “Seventeen years ago, FKOC started with little over a dozen beds.  Fr. Braddock has built FKOC to what it is today allowing the agency to provide housing to over 160 homeless individuals every day in Key West.  I am very proud to have worked with Fr. Braddock in all of the successes FKOC has achieved since the year 2000.  He will be greatly missed by all of us in the FKOC family.”

“As I leave this privileged position-privileged because I have come to know and to understand and experience the incredible impact that FKOC has made on so many lives-I do so with a heart full of gratitude. The accomplishments of these nearly two decades have not been mine alone; rather, they have been the work and dedication of many dedicated staff, volunteers, and supporters. The future of FKOC is very bright. Many possibilities and opportunities for growth await under new leadership at both the board and administrative levels. And, I am confident the mission of FKOC will continue to expand in scope and presence for decades to come,” said Rev. Braddock.

The Board of FKOC has named Stephanie Kaple Interim Executive Director of FKOC.  Stephanie Kaple began as intern with FKOC in the summer of 2003 and has over the years served in various roles with the agency most recently as Chief Operating Officer. “Rev Braddock has been a great mentor to myself and all of the staff at FKOC.  We look forward to continuing the mission of FKOC and always growing to better serve the community,” Stephanie Kaple stated.  Kaple continued, “I believe we have an exceptional team at FKOC, doing challenging but important work for our community.  I know FKOC will continue to be a key part of addressing homelessness in Monroe County.”

FKOC will hold its annual Happy Hour Fundraiser at the Bottlecap on July 21st from 5 to 8pm (2221 Simonton Street) and invites everyone to stop by and support FKOC’s Loaves & Fish Food Pantry and their new community garden project.  FKOC Board Chairman and City of Key West Commissioner Sam Kaufman will also be celebrating his birthday that evening.


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 July 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #228, News, Special Event  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Rev. Stephen Braddock Retires as FKOC’s President & Chief Executive Officer After Seventeen Years of Service”

  1. Steve: You will be missed!! No one has done more than you to help the homeless and downtrodden in our community. While you will no longer hold an official position, I hope that you will remain active, at least in an advisory role. You have a lifetime of beneficial experience that the community still needs.

  2. Steve indeed will be missed. FKOC takes the steep and narrow path, requiring its clients to be chemical free, attend 12 Step meetings, get paying work, help keep the shelters clean, live by house rules, get in by night curfew time, and keep moving forward in FKOC’s program. Yes, there are dropouts, Yes, sometimes graduates relapse. Yes, some graduates stay with and work and live at FKOC. Yes, some graduates go on to independent living wherever life takes them.

    This kind of program is not in vogue today in homeless help circles, nor with grantfunders, including the U.S. Government. In vogue is, just give homeless people free housing, regardless. No, they don’t have to be chemical free. No, they don’t have to pay rent or utilities. No, they don’t have to anything. What’s important is to get them inside. In the long run, that costs society less money than having them roaming the streets.

    Housing first has not been tried in Key West. A hybrid called “housing first” is being tried by Southern Homeless Assistance League, Catholic Charities, and perhaps other organizations. Homeless people are given first, last and deposit on an apartment, efficiency or room, and they move in and are expected to start being able to pay rent and utilities sooner or later.

    How well do you figure it goes for homeless people who get that deal, but do not give up their chemical habit(s)? How well do you figure it goes tor landlords who rent to homeless addicts who have not given up their habits?

    FKOC knows there is no rehabilitation, if the chemicals are not given up. Furthermore, there is no way to really treat mentally ill homeless addicts while they are still using. In Key West, booze and spice are favorite homeless chemicals. Spice, sometimes called “synthetic marijuana” is nothing like marijuana. I often turns homeless people into sub, or non, human beings. Seeing is believing.

    Father Braddock and I talked about “housing first”. He said it is not going to work. I agreed, but people will try to make it work. Cities have tried to make it work. Miami spend a great deal of money on housing for homeless people, and Miami still has a lot of homeless people on the streets.

    While I admire FKOC’s efforts, and I have been a client at FKOC, so I’m not pulling this out of thin air, there is no real cure. Homelessness has become part of American society. It’s here to stay. What each city and county and America need to decide is just how much money do they wish the spend trying to MANAGE something that cannot be fixed.

    If you don’t believe me, take a walking or bicycle tour of Key West and chat up homeless people and hear their stories. Dress down and got out to KOTS and spend a few nights there observing and talking with and sleeping sandwiched between clients in the dormitories.

    Then, you will have a realistic view of homelessness.

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