While ‘bridge’ shelter just opened, city is hurrying to find solutions before it closes

VIDEO: After the temporary shelter on West Ashley Street closes, there will be multiple shelters in the city that people can use 7 days a week.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The temporary shelter that opened for people moved from a homeless camp along Union Street on Monday will be open for 27 more days.

The Temporary Bridge Shelter, being managed by Changing Homelessness and the City Rescue Mission, was donated by Jacksonville real estate company JWB. The company learned there was a need for space and wanted to help.

“I think the homelessness is a big issue here in Jacksonville and (we’re) just being able to be a small part of the solution,” JWB President Alexander Sifakis said.

The city said its goal is to bring an “end to homelessness,” but there is concern a new homeless camp could spring up when this facility closes early next month.

Trying to find alternatives for the men and women before then, the city says each individual is meeting with a case manager to develop a customized service and housing plan.

“As every situation is different, their service and housing solutions will also be different. While the Temporary Bridge Shelter is open for a total of 30 days, there have already been individuals that have been placed in a variety of housing solutions that meet their particular needs. The shelter partners are experts in transitioning individuals into housing and will continue to do this work as part of their normal coordinated intake process,” the city’s public affairs office said in a statement.

Despite the homeless camp that grew downtown early this year, the Jacksonville officials say homelessness has been decreasing in city.

After the 30 days ends, the four permanent overnight shelters that currently serve the community will remain open for anyone who is lot placed in more permanent housing:

  • Sulzbacher
  • Trinity Rescue Mission
  • City Rescue Mission
  • Salvation Army

People can also get help with mental health services, transportation, meals and employment help.

Sifakis hopes his company can find other ways to help end homelessness in the future.

“We love to give back to the community. We do a lot of volunteering. Affordable housing is something that we really focus on,” Sifakis said.

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