Homeless don't just need help at holidays

Mission House aims to get homeless on their feet year-round

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Mission House on Shetter Avenue is the only day facility helping the homeless from Mayport to Ponte Vedra Beach. 

It provides free lunch and dinner seven days a week, as well as a place to cool off, take a shower and get a change of clothes. 

Lori Anderson, executive director of Mission House, said they are seeing about 30 percent more people who need their help, which means between 60 and 80 people. 

Anderson said she noticed an uptick after hotel vouchers given out following Hurricane Irma expired.

The goal of Mission House is to house people and find them a job. 

"We're very proud of the work our crew did last year, we were able to get 94 men and women into housing and some type of income for them with a staff of 12. That's pretty amazing," Anderson said.

There are currently no other shelters in the beaches area, and Anderson said shelters in general are something organizations try to stay away from. 

"We are kind of moving away from the shelter model, and the reason being is that if you give a homeless person food and a place to lay their head, then why do they need to get a job and get the right apartment, so housing first is what we do," Anderson said. "It is a lot easier to find a job from your own bed than it is from getting up in the woods."

Mission House wants to remind people that the shelter is not only in need during the holidays, but also during the summer. Supplies get low around this time of year, so they need help to keep up with the demand. 

Some of the items they are asking for are men's boxers, short white ankle socks, reusable water bottles, insect wipes and small shorts in sizes 32 and 34.

Donations can be dropped off at the facility on Shetter Avenue. 

See the full article written by Ashley Spicer here.

Jacksonville Beach Shelter Sees Homeless Increase During Summer

The latest point-in-time count found the number of people living on the streets in Jacksonville is around 400. That’s in the winter.

When the weather turns hot, the number of homeless people who show up there for help goes up another 30 percent or so, according to Lori Anderson, who is the Executive Director of Mission House at Jacksonville Beach.  

“Normally it’s anywhere from 40 to 60, but in the summertime it’s more like 60 to 80. It’s difficult when it gets up to 80 but we do accommodate them,” said Anderson, referring to the number of people using Mission House.

Mission House on Shetter Avenue is a day shelter for homeless adults.  It provides free lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as a place to cool off, take a shower and get a change of clothes.

“Some of the items we’re asking for [are] men’s boxers, short ankle white socks, reusable water bottles—they’re really important right now,” said Anderson.

She added insect repellant wipes are also needed.

Anderson said the shelter has seen a marked decrease in the number of infected bug bites since they started handing them out this summer.

The Sulzbacher Center in downtown Jacksonville is also open whenever the "feels like" temperature hits 100 degrees. 

“We keep water available for them. We have a room inside we call the library, which is air conditioned. And on days of extreme heat, like today, we can allow people to just come in, cool off, get some water, get a meal,” said Eileen Briggs of the Sulzbacher Center.

According to FloridaStorms.org, Jacksonville's heat index was 100 degrees at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

See full article written by Cyd Hoskinson here.

Media Statement | Mission House

(Jacksonville Beach, FL) An incident occurred this morning involving an unknown gunman and affected two clients who were seeking assistance from Mission House; a day facility that exists to help meet the needs of people who are circumstantially homeless at the Beach.

At the moment of the event, a staff member from Mission House alerted emergency response officials who quickly arrived on scene. Mission House has been cooperating with Jacksonville Beach Officials and NO staff or volunteers of Mission House were harmed during the incident.

Mission House will be closed for the weekend but will reopen on Monday morning with regular services.

Mission House’s number one goal is to assist people who are circumstantially homeless off the streets of the Beach and back to productive and self-sufficient lives.

Mission House Helping Homeless Adults Take Control of Their Mental Health

It’s no surprise that approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness, but what are the local facilities doing to help?

Mission House is the only day facility to help meet the needs of people who are homeless at the Beaches through compassion, faith, and programs designed to provide assistance at an individual level.

For clients facing mental health concerns, Mission House is meeting their needs through case management and art therapy.

Mission House’s Case Managers Jane and Carmen see around 215 new and repeat visitors a month for case management. Clients receive one-on-one counseling where they work intimately with case managers to develop a program planned to restore their independence.  

One of the ways Mission House aims to serve clients healing through mental health issues is through Art Therapy. Each Wednesday, local artist Marsha Glazière leads an art class for Mission House clients.

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Clients who participate can experience the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling. The projects vary each week, but what does not change is the creativity and joy that leaves the room.

“The art therapy gives our clients an outlet to handle their frustrations. It has become a connection to the community through art (for those who are artistically inclined it truly is a community) and creates confidence for those who are naturally artistically inclined.  For one of my clients, art literally was the only coping mechanism they had to get through multiple foster homes, abuse, and prison,” according to Carmen, a case manager at Mission House.

Mission House’s goal is to bring awareness to the mental health stigma, especially with adults who find themselves homeless at the beaches.

Mission House is open 7 days a week, 361 days a year.