RCS Grace House wants homeless families to never need their services again

A local non-profit is helping less fortunate families get back on their feet by giving them a hand-up. How this charitable organization is helping families is what's right with Tampa Bay.

A touching moment for Mom Edith Perez Lopez reading to her son, Sebastian.

Earlier this year Edith and her family found themselves homeless.

"My husband lost his job," said Lopez. "I got an emergency gallbladder surgery that put me off from work for about a month and a half."

They lost their apartment and had no place to stay until they found out about RCS Grace House, a shelter for homeless families.

"This is a very special place, uh since the beginning you feel the love, you feel the support," explained Lopez.

Kirk Ray Smith is president and CEO of RCS Pinellas.

"We focus on families trying to keep them together because our thought is you are going to enter this crisis together as a family and you are going to come out of it as a family," Smith said.

Grace House has been around for more than 50 years. They take a holistic approach to helping families get back on their feet. 

'"Here at the Grace House, we are fortunate. We have a 90% success rate. That means 9 out of 10 families that come to us go into permanent housing," said Smith.

Grace House serves about 600 families a year and provides more than 130 services to help families transition back to self-sufficiency.

"We want you to no longer need our services," said Smith. "We work very hard at that and are honored to be able to do it every day."

Services that Lopez is glad that they have, "It's not easy but with the support of RCS and all the programs that they offer. It's impossible to leave here and not be able to start over."

Lopez and her family now have their own apartment again.

"It's not how you came in here, but how you leave here forever changed."

RCS Grace House is a shining example of an organization providing help and hope for families that need a hand up. For more information, visit https://rcspinellas.org/.