PAHOKEE – Gulfstream Goodwill Industries (GGI), in partnership with Palm Beach County, is pleased to announce the dedication of a new plaque at Melissa’s Place at the Village at the Glades in honor of former District 6 Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay. The dedication ceremony was held on March 21, 2023, at the Pahokee transitional housing facility at 1749 E. Main Street.
“The three things a person needs to survive are food, water and shelter - and that shelter must be safe,” said Commissioner McKinley. “Melissa’s Place provides this necessity for the Glades area. Long overdue, families now have a helping hand they can hold when life throws them a curveball. As a single Mom, I know this fear. It is such a heartfelt honor to have this life saving facility bear my name. It really should read #TeamPalmBeach because it was a team effort to get this done. To leave this kind of public service legacy is exactly why I got into public service - helping people, especially our children.”
The plaque is a symbol of gratitude for McKinlay's unwavering support for the western communities of Palm Beach County. Throughout her two terms as county commissioner, she has been a vocal advocate for those in need, and her tireless efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals and families. She petitioned the commission for $5 million to renovate the foreclosed senior living facility that was in deplorable condition into a homeless shelter. The two-year-old facility operates on a referral basis and after an assessment, qualified Glades residents can stay in an apartment while GGI staff helps them find a job and new home. The facility is operated in partnership with GGI and Palm Beach County.
"When people walk through these doors, magic happens - magic in the form of transformation,” said Laura Contrera, Vice President of Programs and Services at Gulfstream Goodwill Industries. “We’re transforming lives here, and it’s all thanks to Melissa for her vision and getting this all started. Her vision has enabled Gulfstream Goodwill Industries to serve over 700 homeless people in this community, 300 of which are children and 90 of which are seniors 60 and older. We’ve not only provided much needed services to the homeless population in this community, but we’ve also provided employment where 95% of staff are local residents.”
The transitional housing complex was renamed in honor of Commissioner McKinlay during her last official county meeting on November 22, 2022. It was presented by County Commissioner Mack Bernard on behalf of the county commission. The plaque is prominently displayed on the exterior of Melissa’s Place at the Village at the Glade, where it will serve as a daily reminder of McKinlay's contributions and the ongoing work that remains to be done to address the issue of homelessness in our community.
Commissioner McKinlay was first elected in 2014 to represent residents from Wellington, Royal Palm Beach and west to the edges of Lake Okeechobee. During her time in office, she focused on improving housing conditions, women's services and drug addiction programs in the district.
Goodwill relies heavily on donations to make a significant impact and assist with residents' move-out expenses. Providing a family of four with the means to transition from a shelter to an apartment typically requires around $5,000. This amount covers initial fees such as the first month's rent, security deposit, basic furnishings, school uniforms, and other basic needs to get a solid start.
Gulfstream Goodwill Industries is a private, non-profit agency that has been serving Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties for over 50 years. It is the largest health and human services organization in its five-county region as well as the largest homelessness provider in its region. Last year, GGI served 1,500 homeless individuals, helping to get them off the streets and into a safe environment. The organization’s homeless prevention services include temporary shelters as well as permanent supportive housing that is safe, comfortable and affordable for single adults and families who are homeless and/or at risk for homelessness. GGI changes lives through employment, training, and housing while assisting people with disabilities and other barriers to employment to become self-sufficient, working members of the South Florida community. For more information, visit goggi.org or call 561-848-7200.