Our Successes

Here are some testimonials from families who  have benefitted from
programs offered by Dawning Family Services.


Dawning Family Services incorporates programs and case management

to create a personalized plan for each family. The myriad of services include:


Safe and secure shelter


Housing search programs


Prevention & diversion services


Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) assistance


Post-shelter support to ensure a family's continued housing stability


Employment Support Services


In 2020, Dawning Family Servicers (formerly Alpha House of Tampa) is proud to share that we:

  • Sheltered 129 adults and 192 children onsite of the emergency shelter
  • Served 90 families through our post-shelter support services
  • Housed 64 families through our Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) Program, which provides security and utility deposits, rental assistance, and post-shelter case management services.
  • 100% were homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness
  • 76% of families left to permanent housing as defined by HUD
  • 53% of adults advanced their education and/or improved their ability to gain and retain meaningful employment
  • 20 children received Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) developmental screenings and were at or above their developmental milestones and ready for school.

Featured Success Stories

Our Story: Kacey, Mark, and their family

Just imagine: A global pandemic has taken hold, you have four children and are pregnant with your fifth, your husband has been laid off from work with no job prospects in sight, and your family has been evicted from their home. You’ve been fortunate to find an emergency shelter that can accept your entire family. But now what?

That was Kacey and Mark just two months ago. Taking matters into their own hands, the family turned to
Dawning Family Services. Their assigned case manager at Dawning immediately developed a housing plan for the family and registered Kacey and her husband, Mark, for the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative’s “Speed Leasing Event.” Through this program, the family was approved for a 3-bedroom apartment, with Dawning Family Services providing financial assistance to cover the cost of a security deposit, first month’s rent, and a portion of the monthly rent and utilities throughout the summer.

Dawning Family Services also provided meals and brand-new linens (donated from community partners), as well as coordinated with another agency for a car seat. In addition, the Dawning Family Services case manager referred one of Kacey and Mark’s children to the Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System,
through Hillsborough County Schools, because of suspected developmental delays.

Kacey, Mark, and their children continue to work with Dawning Family Services to maintain their housing stability. And now that they have a place of their own, Mark was able to obtain a full-time job working from home, while Kacey cares for the children and prepares for the birth of their little one. The entire family is living healthily and happily and appreciate the work of Dawning Family Services and its myriad partners who contributed to their family well-being.

One of the families benefiting from our expanded mission includes Emma, her mother Michelle, sons Aidan and Anthony, and newborn baby boy Zachary.

Emma came to us when she and her family were asked to leave the place in which they were staying, leaving
them homeless.

“I understood why we couldn’t remain. There just wasn’t enough room for all of us in addition to the other people who were living there,” shared Emma. Compounding the already fraught situation, Zachary was in NICU and Emma was worried about not having a home to return to when he was discharged.

Emma and I were blessed to find Dawning [Family Services] while my grandson was still in the hospital,” says Michelle. Adds Emma, “My mom [Michelle] is a huge help for the kids and me. She worked long hours to bring in money for the family so I could recover and spend time with Zach.”

Emma, Michelle, and the children ultimately were provided safe shelter and supportive services by Dawning Family Services. Their assigned case manager took time to understand the family’s unique and dynamic needs. She helped to obtain childcare vouchers for all three children, located a safe and affordable apartment, and coordinated financial assistance to cover rent, security, and utility deposits for the family’s rental. Emma had a
job before she gave birth to Zach and was fortunate that the position was held for her while on maternity leave. After Emma returned to work, Michelle became the caregiver for her grandsons.

Since we last met with Emma, she has shared that she now is working a second job and has enrolled part-time
in community college. Emma reiterates how grateful she was to find a program that allowed her mother, Michelle, to be sheltered with her and her sons since Michelle is such an important support. “I have been happy since day one (of coming to Dawning Family Services). You all helped me to keep my entire family together so I could meet my family’s needs.

Your past support has made it possible for us to provide Emma’s and other families like hers with the services they need to obtain and maintain permanent, affordable housing.

Sleeping on a park bench along with your two young sons

. . . pushing your newborn and your toddlerin a stroller during the wee hours of night trying to keep out of harm’s way . . . sneaking your family into an unventilated storage unit because that was the only place with four walls and a roof. These are not the experiences of three families who have stayed at Dawning Family Services; it is the story of one . . . Tara and
her two children, Theo and Tyler.

Tara explains, “I couldn’t stay at my mom’s house because she kept threatening me and stealing my things. The boys’ father’s house, well let’s just say that it just wasn’t the healthiest environment. I had no place where my sons and I were welcome.”

Under ideal circumstances, parenting can be a challenge. For Tara and so many other parents like her, obstacles often stymie efforts to provide for the well-being of their families. Without appropriate childcare, Tara could not sustain employment; without a job, she could not lease, much less maintain, the expense of an apartment; and without a home, she could not perform normal daily activities, including showering, preparing meals for her sons, and getting a good night’s sleep.

Fortunately, Tara, Theo, and Tyler were directed to Dawning Family Services where they were provided safe shelter, case management, and housing search services. While there, Tara found a part-time job at a local hospital, obtained vouchers coordinated by her case manager to place her sons in childcare, and enrolled in our rapid rehousing program, securing within ten weeks a lease in her own name for the first time in her life.

Tara shares, “The staff believed in me even when no one else did, including myself. They motivated me and reminded me of what I should prioritize and all that I could accomplish. However, they did not do the work for me. They sent me in the right direction so that I can take care of things on my own.”

Cindy was doing her best to raise her
3-year-old daughter, Ava.


However, Ava’s uncontrollable outbursts were taking a toll on Cindy’s health, causing the two of them to become homeless. Cindy sought help from Dawning Family Services (formerly Alpha House of Tampa), where she and Ava were provided safe shelter and support services.

As part of the family’s case management plan, developmental screenings were administered to Ava. Results from these suggested that a referral to a medical professional was appropriate. Ultimately, a psychiatrist diagnosed her with a genetic developmental disability, now understood
as the cause of her severe behavioral and sensory disorders. A case manager referred Ava to a childcare program for children with special needs; she was soon enrolled. Since Ava was being cared for during the day, Cindy had time to focus on herself. She found a part-time job, addressed her significant health issues, and began to focus on her own well-being.

With assistance from Dawning Family Services, Cindy and Ava found a cozy apartment they now call their own. They continue to receive support from their case manager, but things are looking up for them and their future is bright.