Downtown Jacksonville temporary homeless shelter now closing Thursday

Jacksonville, FL. — The downtown Jacksonville temporary Bridge homeless shelter will now close Thursday.

Action News Jax first told you when the shelter planned to shut down Wednesday.

Dawn Gilman, with Changing Homelessness, said there’s about 30 people eft at the shelter, so they decided to provide one more night.

The Bridge shelter opened March 9th after the City of Jacksonville cleared and fenced off the homeless camp known as ‘tent city’ on Jefferson Street.

Gilman said the shelter helped a total of 187 people, with 150 people at the shelter during its peak.

Up to 40 people found other permanent housing options, others have opted for boarding homes, and some have moved to other shelters like City Rescue Mission just a block away.

Gilman said everyone at the shelter was offered resources to get help, however some chose not to take it.

“We’re going to see the same number you saw today [on the streets]. They’re just going to be throughout the county,” she said.

Action News Jax Robert Grant spoke up with Gary Drayton, who’s been at the shelter since it opened in early March.

He’s now going to a recovery program where he hopes to find and hold onto permanent housing.

“My whole life really I haven’t been stable since I was a little boy,” he said. “Having it and keeping it? That’s the new mission.”

All of Jacksonville’s homeless shelters are now up to at least 70% capacity after cutting down beds due to the pandemic.

Gilman said there’s more shelter beds available now than before the pandemic.