Downtown Jacksonville, FL. — A temporary homeless shelter is now up and running in downtown Jacksonville to help dozens who were staying at the Jefferson Street ‘tent city’.
The shelter, which is being operated by City Rescue Mission, is open for thirty days at 331 W Ashley Street.
Last week it was an empty warehouse and Tuesday it was transformed into a temporary shelter with enough cots for up to 150 people.
“This was a warehouse just last week and it had a lot of things in here and a dirty warehouse floor,” Paul Stasi, the executive director of City Rescue Mission, said. “We got everything out and cleaned the floors and now we’re set up to help people in need with this temporary shelter.”
Case managers are also on site to connect with people before entering to get them in touch with the right resources to find a permanent solution to homelessness.
There is no running water inside the shelter. Action News Jax Robert Grant noticed portable toilets and washing stations outside and Stasi said a shower trailer would be parked in the lot.
In the meantime, people were directed to City Rescue Mission’s main location to take showers.
There will also be meals provided to guests at the shelter.
“We like to call it a pathway to successful living, which involves sustainability, and jobs and all that. It’s a lot to do in the 30 days,” he said.
After the shelter closes, people will be directed to permanent shelters including City Rescue Mission which currently operates at 100% capacity after it was limited due to COVID-19.
They now have space for up to 40 women, 20 men, and 4 families.
Stasi said it’s a collaborative effort with all of the homeless resources in Jacksonville to get people connected to the right places.
The shelter is currently staffed 24 hours a day, for the next 30 days and is in need of volunteers and donations.
People can contact City Rescue Mission at 904-387-4357 to help.
Some people voiced concerns about after the shelter is closed, including Brennan Reed, a community activist.
“If these people disperse and there’s no plan, they’re going to be scattered around the city and we’ll have our hands full with a different situation,” he said.