Homeless day center opening approaching

Mayor Brown addresses when homeless day center may open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A homeless day center is being built by renovating the City Rescue Mission downtown, but it's three months behind schedule.

On Monday morning, Mayor Alvin Brown addressed the delays.

In November, the city said it was aiming to open the center in January, but now it's slated to open at the end of this summer.

"To reach the national goal of no chronically homeless or homeless veterans on our streets by December 2015, we have to know each one by name and what their goals are," said Dawn Gilman, of the Homeless Coalition of Jacksonville.

There are about 400 homeless people sleeping on the streets of downtown Jacksonville on any given night. The day center for the homeless was one of Brown's campaign promises that was supposed to already be up and running.

"They're great people, they are veterans who served our country, so we are just doing our part to help them have a place so they become self-sufficient," Brown said.

Three months past its scheduled opening, the issue is the cost is more than double the mayor's initial projection.

When the project was announced, the renovation was expected to be about $70,000. Now, it's up to $180,000.

Wells Fargo just contributed $70,000, but the city still needs more than $100,000, even though the space is being leased from the City Rescue Mission for free. The plan is to have it open three days a week, giving users access to things like showers, computers, phones and veterans groups.

Clarence McCloud, who's homeless, is looking forward to using the day center to get back on his feet.

"It will basically help me out with resting and staying off my feet, absorbing my energy for work and basically saving my time," he said.

For more information on how you can help this project, call 904-354-1100 or go to www.eshcnefl.org.