A little over two years ago, I convened a team of experts and service providers and charged them with an important task: explore the best options and offerings to end homelessness in Jacksonville.
This past Valentine’s Day, we cut the ribbon on the first of many initiatives to accomplish that lofty goal.
The new Urban Rest Stop now open at the Sulzbacher Center in partnership with Mental Health Resource Center (MHRC), provides important and needed services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. The program was made possible by a $120,000 City grant and includes case management services, showers, healthcare, meals, and job assistance. Those in need will have access to the location and its services Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This program accomplishes two goals set forth by the Downtown Homelessness Task Force: (1) increase service points to people experiencing homelessness during the day, and (2) increase the capacity of services for the homeless population. The task force, which includes representatives from The Sulzbacher Center, Mental Health Resource Center, Catholic Charities, Changing Homelessness, Salvation Army, City Rescue Mission and many others worked collaboratively to identify and discuss the needs, gaps, offerings, and opportunities to address homelessness in downtown Jacksonville.
This innovative idea will have a profound impact on the lives of Jacksonville’s most vulnerable citizens. I applaud Sulzbacher, MHRC, City Council and my Downtown Homelessness Task Force for their collaboration and leadership in enhancing the services and offerings available to Jacksonville homeless populations.
With continued collaboration, I am confident we will provide the hope, opportunities, and services that will help end homelessness in Jacksonville.