In the Jacksonville area, an estimated 2,000 people are experiencing homelessness, and over 15,000 individuals in Duval County have faced eviction. To address this issue, the city council is set to approve nearly $8 million for new programs aimed at helping people stay in their homes. The funding is expected to support initiatives that prevent homelessness and provide assistance to those facing eviction.
The city’s focus on homelessness is underscored by the story of Debbie, a military veteran and mother of four, who found herself on the brink of homelessness after losing her job. Debbie, like many others, faced challenges that led to difficulties in paying rent. Fortunately, she reached out to Changing Homelessness, a local group, and, being a veteran, gained access to a program that is currently assisting her with rent.
Debbie’s experience highlights the importance of investing in programs that address homelessness and eviction prevention. The city aims to make stories like Debbie’s rare in the community and recognizes housing as a fundamental right and a key component of healthcare. Joshua Hicks, Jacksonville Affordable Housing Director, emphasizes the government’s responsibility to ensure a healthy community where everyone has a roof over their head.
Changing Homelessness, led by Dawn Gilman, collaborates with federal and city grants to implement solutions for housing stability. While efforts are underway to create more housing and stability, it is acknowledged that additional work and funding from the city are essential to address the complexities of homelessness and eviction prevention comprehensively. For Debbie, the support she received is already making a positive difference in her situation.