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New homeless day center almost ready to fully open

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Updated: 8/27/2013 9:22 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There is big progress on the new Jacksonville Day Resource Center downtown, and Action News got the first sneak peak inside.

Action News learned the community really stepped up to move this project forward.

The brand-new recourse center will provide vital services to the city's homeless. Inside, they can take a hot shower, eat a warm meal and use computers to find a job.

"I sleep in a rock pile. I commit a felony every night when I go to sleep. There's a sign on the gate to where I go," said Bob Weed.

Weed is homeless. And here in Jacksonville, he's not alone. Jocelyn Tindell currently has a bed at the Sulzbacher Center. She said she's one of the lucky ones.

"Some people sleep in the woods," she said.

The new day center is a new glimmer of hope. It's a decade-and-a-half in the making.

"This will become a centralized intake point for people who are homeless and also living on the street," said Dawn Gilman, Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition CEO.

Gilman said the project has been a labor of love. Construction is finally finished.

But the facility wouldn't be standing at all if it weren't for the generosity of the Jacksonville community. Donations from construction work to couches to curtain rods are what turned an idea into a reality.

Project Manager Tillis DeVaughn said funding was the sticking point for the last 15 years.

"All of the partnering agencies, they usually compete for the same dollars and the same clients. They dropped all of that and came together," he said. "It's amazing what you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit."

Tindell said this is proof her city does care about its people, whether they have a home or not.

"I think it's getting better and better actually," she said.

Action News has learned the current building is temporary for the first test year -- it is owned by City Mission.

The city wants to find a bigger building it owns to continue the center long-term.

The target date to fully open is Sept. 16. Right now the center is allowing folks to come in a few days a week to cool off.

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