JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It appears a majority of the people experiencing homelessness in downtown Jacksonville are accounted for after city workers shut down a large homeless camp near Union and Jefferson Street.
Residents in the camp were given advanced notice of the city’s intent to reclaim the downtown property where dozens of tents stood and the city arranged for a temporary shelter at City Rescue Mission in an attempt to provide resources to overcome the circumstances that led residents into homelessness.
In addition to providing basic needs, City Rescue Mission case managers are supposed to work with people at the shelter to help them come up with personalized plans to get back on their feet.
However, a volunteer at City Rescue Mission told News4Jax that only 15 residents were in the temporary shelter before curfew at 10 pm. last night. Some community advocates bashed the city’s plan from the beginning, calling the camp shutdown a band-aid solution that did not address the root issue.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, crews using a grapple truck were seen scooping items collected in piles on the property, which has since been surrounded by fencing. Crews also installed the last piece of the gate designed to keep people out.
Daryus Sando, who called the tent city home for two months, said seeing the city crews made the deadline suddenly very real.
“When you actually see things going down, versus hearing about it, it’s always that, ‘OK, I’ve got to do it, I’ve got to move now, I’ve got to find somewhere to go now. It’s the real deal,’” Sando said.
The Bridge Shelter is available to people for the next 30 days.