JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JASMYN, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ youth, officially opened its third facility on Sunday.
JASMYN House 3, or “J3,” will serve as a safe and supportive space for youth experiencing homelessness. At the new facility in the Brooklyn neighborhood, young people will have access to computers, mail and phones; grab-and-go food and hygiene pantry items; shower suites with laundry facilities; and more.
“It’s sort of like being in your mom’s kitchen. You can come in, go to the refrigerator, get something to eat, but you can also talk with a supportive adult who really cares and who can help you figure things out," said JASMYN CEO Cindy Watson. "It’s a place to connect. We see ourselves as the front door for people who are homeless, a place to land.”
J3 will also provide a private counseling space and care coordination that connects young people to resources in the community that meets their individual needs.
“For several years we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of homeless youth we’ve served -- both LGBTQ and straight young people," Watson said. “We made it a strategic priority to address the needs of these young people and opening J3 is really the fulfillment of a long-planned effort. In 2019, we served 135 homeless youth. And, unfortunately, we expect that number to continue to increase.”
JASMYN helps young people with the many facets of homelessness -- including access to healthcare, food and other basic needs -- while working with more than 15 community partners to place them in temporary, transitional and permanent housing.
“We have a lot of work to do in that area in Jacksonville. We don’t have enough housing supports yet for homeless youth, but we’re working on it and, collectively, this community is responding to the challenge to the rising number of young people who are homeless in Jacksonville," Watson said.
The new facility, a renovated 100-year-old home, is a day center only and does not provide housing on-site.
For more information, visit www.jasmyn.org.