Meet the Air Force Veteran Who’s Fighting Family Homelessness by Bringing Education Services to His Community

September 12, 2022

The Family Promise Good Neighbor Award highlights Family Promise Affiliate staff members who are doing exceptional work in their communities. 

Doug Holton and his wife were looking to give back locally when they first came across Family Promise of Brevard. After volunteering for several local nonprofits, they found many of them were not offering solutions to the causes they supported. That’s where Family Promise separated from the rest. 

“One of the things that really attracted me to Family Promise was the fact that we’re willing to peel back the layers of that onion and find out the root cause of family homelessness,” said Holton. “Whatever it is, whether it’s a matter of income, mental health or something else, we are able to assist families.” 

Holton has a background in IT and computer services and spent 23 years on active duty in the Air Force before retiring to Brevard County. His tenure at Family Promise of Brevard started with IT help and eventually brought him to the board in 2015 until 2020. Over those years, Holton had a full spectrum of experience holding different positions including chair of development, chair of congressional outreach, and even board chair. 

“I like the idea of assisting people to do for themselves instead of acting like a Band-Aid for the issue at hand,” said Holton. “Helping these families reach some level of self-sufficiency on their part is what has kept me at Family Promise for all of these years.” 

Currently, Holton is chair of Family Promise of Brevard’s relocation committee. His main duty in this role is known as The Firehouse Project – a plan to renovate a decommissioned firehouse into the Affiliate’s new resource center. When discussing where to relocate, the board decided the new resource center would be best utilized in an area with the greatest need. Through research and speaking with government officials, they learned that Cocoa, FL, has an atypical income level for their county, with 73% of its residents earning below the average income. 

“The way we can resolve the atypical income level in Cocoa is through education,” said Holton. “Within the resource center we will have a community classroom that will host different educational programs not just offered to families within Family Promise’s three programs, but for the entire Cocoa community at large.” 

The Firehouse will give the Affiliate 6,000 square feet of space to serve 65% more families and collocate with other agencies to provide families with access to housing, financial, health, and educational services in one location. The Firehouse will allow Family Promise of Brevard to take a truly holistic approach to addressing the issue of family homelessness in their county. 

Holton has been a part of many great things since he joined the Family Promise of Brevard team in 2013 but spearheading the relocation of the Affiliate’s resource center may be up there as one of the most impactful. That’s why he is the well-deserved recipient of this month’s Good Neighbor Award. 

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