People living in Jacksonville homeless camp hope to soon have help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Help could soon be on the way for people who live in a homeless camp in Downtown Jacksonville.

The city said a plan could be released as soon as Wednesday that will help these people get back on their feet. Until it’s released, the city said it’s not forcing the people to leave the area at North Jefferson and West Beaver streets, and that it does plan to get them help.

Catherine Creed is one of many people living in the homeless camp. Early Monday morning she was worried that the few possessions she has would be destroyed.

“Because I heard at 5 o’clock we were supposed to be out here, and then I heard at 7 o’clock,” Creed said.

A spokesperson for Mayor Lenny Curry said: “No one from the city told anyone they had to leave.”

News4Jax sent an email to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office asking whether the homeless people were being forced to move. A response from a spokesperson reads: “No, that is not true.”

Creed questions signs posted near the camp, which read in part: “Officers of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are authorized to enforce the Florida trespass laws on this property. Failure to leave this property after being instructed to do so by a law enforcement officer may result in your arrest...”

“They erected this sign, so I think it’s contradictory,” Creed said.

Volunteers Jason Pugh and Charlie Griffin told News4Jax they have been coming to the homeless camp every Tuesday for three months.

“We feed the homeless, we provide shelter, we give them tents,” Pugh said.

Ju’Coby Pittman is the CEO and president of the Clara White Mission, which helps Jacksonville’s homeless people. The mission is across the street from the homeless camp.

Pittman says local groups are working to find these people a better place to live.

“We want to provide housing and supportive services to those individuals to make sure they are stabilized,” Pittman said.

While News4Jax was there, another group arrived and dropped off hot chocolate to keep the people warm as the temperatures dipped.

The city says change is coming in a plan that will “make a significant difference.”

Anyone who can help is encouraged to donate to local social service groups within the community.

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