JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A community dedicated to helping bring down the number of homeless people in our area reached a major milestone on Monday.
Sulzbacher Village officially became the first community in Florida to be designated an EnVision Center by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"When I got there and stayed there ... it was like a dream come true for me," said Bessie, a Sulzbacher Village resident.
About a year ago, I came here, escaping gun violence, trying to get in a place of my own. I was going to stay in my car," Ms. Baker said.
Bessie and Ms. Baker say Sulzbacher Village gave them a new chance at life.
"I never knew I'd have child care right next door — and could keep my job I've been on 10 years. I thought I'd lose my job," Ms. Baker said.
With the backing of HUD -- and a number of other public and private partners -- Sulzbacher Village hopes to have the same positive effect on hundreds of others.
"We house over 300 people here. But we have literally thousands going through our health clinics," said Cindy Funkhouser, the president and CEO of Sulzbacher.
Funkhouser said that the EnVision Center as a hub in the community dedicated to helping more Americans become self-sufficient.
They do that by providing these four things through a number of partnerships throughout the community: Economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership.
The Sulzbacher Center is one of only 32 communities across the country designated as an EnVision Center.
With resources like the Career Closet — they tell me their goal is not just to provide a home but to provide hope.
Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole asked Funkhouser: "How much does it cost to make something this awesome happen?"
Cindy Funkhouser said, "Well, this is a $20 million project. It is a low-income tax credit property."
Funkhouser told Cole that they will measure their success on a monthly basis through how many people they're able to place in jobs, health care, permanent housing and education.
The pediatric center at Sulzbacher Village is set to open in December. For more information on getting help, click HERE.
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