Volusia County

FAITH

Fighting Against Injustice Toward Harmony

Background

About 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 Daytona Beach.

Current Membership

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
Community Unitarian Universalist, Ormond Beach
Coronado Methodist Church, New Smyrna Beach
DeLand Quakers, Deland
Deltona Christian Church, Deltona
First Presbyterian Church, Daytona Beach
Mt. Zion AME Church, Daytona Beach
New St. James Missionary Baptist, Daytona Beach
Our Lady of the Lakes, Deltona
Our Lady of Lourdes, Daytona Beach
Our Lady of Hope, Port Orange
Stetson Wesley Foundation, DeLand
St. Timothy Episcopal Church, 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

About FAITH

Staff

Lead Organizer: Jessica Robillard
jessica@thedartcenter.org

Associate Organizer: Caitlin White
caitlin@thedartcenter.org

Contact

www.faithvolusia.org

P.O. Box 164
Daytona Beach, FL 32115

(386) 528-6905

Doing what they won’t

Oftentimes, our local officials lack the political will to address some of our most pressing issues. This is where we must organize and build power so that people get the help they need. Listen to Fr. Chris Hoffman, member of FAITH’s leadership board, discuss one such instance that spurred our campaign to get a homeless shelter built and funded, leading to over 100 people finding permanent housing.

What we do

Our Impact

The goals of FAITH are to:

Provide a vehicle for people of faith in Daytona Beach 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. We are currently working to establish a county wide affordable housing trust fund, and to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Volusia County.  Below are just a few of the other community improvements resulting from FAITH’s work.

Mental Health

In 2008, FAITH ensured that a local provider, ACT/Stewart Marchman, is providing adequate care for our mentally ill inmates.

Unemployment

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.

Youth Arrests

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.

Education

In 2017 FAITH began to tackle the issue of school suspensions in public schools after we uncovered the awful reality that Volusia’s rate of suspension was higher than almost all other counties in the state. We learned that out of school suspensions have been proven to be ineffective and harmful in correcting misbehavior. Furthermore, in Volusia County Schools, children with disabilities and children of color were twice as likely to be suspended than their classmates. FAITH identified an alternative to suspension, Restorative Practices, which addresses misbehavior without kicking children out of the classroom. At the 2019 Action Assembly, FAITH called for the commitment of the Volusia County School Board Members to implement Restorative Practices and to reduce out of school suspensions. By the very next year, Restorative Practices had been implemented in many Volusia County Schools and high school out-of-school suspensions had dropped by 76%!

Night Bus Service

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.

Addiction

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.

In 2017 FAITH’s Mental Health & Addiction committee won commitments from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department and the Daytona Beach Police Department to begin arming their officers with the lifesaving NARCAN nasal spray, which reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Both law enforcement agencies have fulfilled their commitments and as a direct result, 71 lives in our county were saved in 2018 alone!

Homelessness

After a grueling 8 year campaign, in 2017 FAITH secured over $8 million in funding for a homeless assistance center called the First Step Shelter. First Step Shelter currently has about 50 residents in the shelter. In 2020, First Step Shelter treated 135 people with substance abuse of mental health problems, got 75 people health insurance, helped 66 people get into permanent housing, and helped 109 people get connected to SSI/unemployment.

Affordable Housing

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.

We’re hiring!

Interested in a career with FAITH?

Associate Community Organizer
Daytona Beach, FL