God has called upon us to care for the least, the last and the lost. It is my desire that the welfare of the homeless population be included in all that makes Jacksonville a great city. To have the citizens and officials provide resources that will bring transformation and renewal to their lives is my daily hope and ambition.

–Pastor James Wiggins, Former Co-President of ICARE

 

Problem: There are thousands of Homeless Citizens in Jacksonville*

Findings:

  • The 2004 Jacksonville Blueprint to End Homelessness stated that there was an unmet need for a day time resource center. This would provide: showers, restrooms, phones, mailing address, computers, washer and dryers, storage lockers as well as assessments and  referrals to other services which  will be  provided in a central location is a key strategy in implementing the Blueprint. The day center is the means to reach the goal of reducing homelessness.

 

What we have achieved:

October 21st, 2013 the Jacksonville Day Resource Center (JDRC) opened. City Rescue Mission is allowed use of their annex on 221 West Union Street. Approximately 150 people used the center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The center had television, internet, showers, access to a washer and dryer as well as case management services.

The pilot has ended. On April 11, 2016 we invited Mayor Curry to attend our Nehemiah Assembly to address this issue. He was asked to allocate $311,000 towards the opening of a new day center and he declined to answer. Instead, he promoted his plan to address the city’s pension issue. We are deeply disappointed that the Mayor chose not to address this important issue. However, in a meeting with the Mayor last week he asserted that the Day Center will be a priority of his administration and he wants to serve the most vulnerable populations in our city. ICARE met with him in August and he expressed his desire to work with us to get the Day Center open. However, we still need to be persistent because there is no budget or opening date for the center. We met with him again in February and no progress was made in getting the Day Center opened. He also would not commit to come to our next Nehemiah Assembly to address the issue publicly. We are disappointed that our Mayor has not taken steps to be a leader on this issue. We gathered on March 27th at the annual Nehemiah Assembly to urge him to reopen the day center and he did not show. We urge our Mayor to prioritize the lives of our homeless brothers and sisters and we will continue to engage local allies and press the Mayor on this important issue.