What is FAITH?
FAITH is an interfaith, diverse, congregation-based community organization. Our member congregations pledge to build powerful Justice Ministries within their own congregations and to work together to address the root causes of issues of injustice in Volusia County.
Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Daytona Beach
Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach
Catholic Church of the Epiphany, Port Orange
Christ Presbyterian Church, Ormond Beach
Circle of Grace, Daytona Beach
Collective UMC, DeLand
Community Unitarian Universalist, Ormond Beach
Coronado Methodist Church, New Smyrna Beach
Deltona Christian Church, Deltona
First Christian Church, Daytona Beach
First Presbyterian Church, Daytona Beach
Mt. Zion AME Church, Daytona Beach
New St. James Missionary Baptist, Daytona Beach
Our Lady of Lourdes, Daytona Beach
Our Lady of Hope, Port Orange
St. Timothy Episcopal Church, Daytona Beach
Stewart Memorial UMC, Daytona Beach
Tomoka United Methodist Church, Ormond Beach
Tubman-King Community Church, Daytona Beach
Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Ormond Beach
Volusia Flagler AFL-CIO, Daytona Beach
What we do
The goals of FAITH are to:
Provide a vehicle for people of faith in Volusia county to live out their duty and call to Do Justice.
Build strong relationships both within and among our congregations.
Identify problems of social justice in our community.
Identify solutions that address the root cause of the problems of social justice that we identify.
Stand united on agreed-upon issues of justice and fairness and hold political and economic systems accountable to what God created them to be.
Since FAITH’s beginning in 1999, we have brought people together from different races, religious denominations, and areas of Volusia County to work together on issues of common concern. Below are just a few of the community improvements resulting from FAITH’s work.
FAITH was successful in getting the City Commission and the Chief of Police to double the size of Daytona Beach’s street level narcotics unit. Also, FAITH has developed a Hot Spot Card, an anonymous tip card, which allows residents to report criminal activity, as well as code violations, without fear of retaliation.
In 2008, FAITH ensured that a local provider, ACT/Stewart Marchman, is providing adequate care for our mentally ill inmates.
In 2009, FAITH won local hiring agreements in the cities of Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach, giving local workers an advantage when looking for jobs. In 2010, FAITH convinced Volusia County Council to pass a “Local Contractor Preference” that gives our Volusia based companies up to a 5% preference on county funded bids.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, F.A.I.T.H. is still finding ways to organize for justice in Volusia County. This year, FAITH made great progress in our campaign to reduce misdemeanor youth arrests through Civil Citations. While Civil Citations are available as an alternative to lifelong criminal records to children who commit non-serious misdemeanors, less than half of all eligible children are receiving them in Volusia County! This past Summer, during a virtual meeting with FAITH’s Youth Committee, we won the commitment of State Attorney RJ Larizza to enact a new local policy in which prosecutors must review a child offender’s eligibility for civil citations before filing their arrest.
This is a service many groups in the community, including Votran itself, had been trying to get for 6 years. FAITH was successful in securing a commitment from the county to run the bus service until midnight, which enabled many to work in the service industries. This service began in January, 2003 and Votran reports that the ridership is up nearly 400 riders per night.
A substance abuse treatment program in our local jail was implemented in May, 2001, but was eliminated by the county six years later. In 2009, FAITH won commitments to reinstate a new and improved substance abuse program (through Haven Recovery) for inmates in our jail that also provides diversion and continued treatment in a residential facility upon release. The program now saves the county more than $2,000,000 a year and over 500 inmates have successfully completed treatment because of FAITH’s efforts.
FAITH identified a need for more shelter beds for individuals who are homeless. Currently there are only 21 shelter beds for the nearly 5,000 homeless people in Volusia County. Dramatic stories have surfaced about people that are homeless being arrested for merely having nowhere to go. At the 2014 Action Assembly, with the power of 1,800 people, FAITH won commitments from Volusia County Council Members to donate land for a shelter that will house 250 single homeless people. The shelter, called Volusia Safe Harbor, will operate 24/7 and will include case management, intake center, bed, food, and medical and mental health services. Volusia city officials from nine municipalities also agreed to work together to fund the operating expenses of Volusia Safe Harbor.
On June 24th, 2020 over a hundred cars poured into the Daytona Beach Drive-In Church for FAITH’s Drive-In Rally for Affordable Housing! Representing a diverse array of congregations, FAITH members safely assembled together, while remaining in the safety of their vehicles, to demand that the Volusia County Council create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund of $7 million a year. Nearly one in three renter households in our area are paying over half of their income on rent. A countywide Affordable Housing Trust Fund would foster the creation and rehabilitation of affordable units for working families. Three County Council Members attended the Drive-In Rally and each publicly committed to the creation of the housing trust fund.
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