Fighting Against Injustice Toward Harmony
FAITH (Fighting Against Injustice Toward Harmony) 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.
What are our goals?
To provide a vehicle for people of faith in Volusia county to live out their duty and call to Do Justice.
To build strong relationships both within and among our congregations.
To identify problems of social justice in our community.
To identify solutions that address the root cause of the problems of social justice that we identify.
To 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. These are just a few of the community improvements resulting from FAITH’s work:
Crime & Drugs
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.
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.
In 2008, FAITH ensured that a local provider, ACT/Stewart Marchman, is providing adequate care for our mentally ill inmates.
Treatment Program in County Jail
A substance abuse treatment program 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
P.O. Box 164
Daytona Beach, FL 32115
Lead Organizer: Jessica Robillard
Associate Organizer: Freddie Wilson