Mission House’s Rapid Re-Housing program, located in Jacksonville Beach, FL, is a program based on the ‘housing first’ concept that helps individuals experiencing homelessness to obtain housing quickly, by providing financial assistance for moving expenses. The ‘housing first’ concept prioritizes a safe, stable living environment for individuals who are homeless, so that other aspects such as, mental health, education, or financial improvement can be addressed once the person is stably housed.
Mission House saw the need for its Rapid Re-Housing program in the program’s ability to aggressively address the homelessness crisis in Jacksonville, Florida, without the long waiting lists, stringent requirements, and strict financial measurements that often serve as barriers to housing.
“Many individuals are unaware of the services that are available to them in the Jacksonville community,” commented Natalie Collier, Mission House’s Case Management Coordinator. She continues, “Rapid Re-Housing provides a way for veterans and other individuals experiencing homelessness in the Jacksonville Beaches area to access emergency funds required to obtain and maintain housing.”
Homes for the Homeless
The Rapid Re-Housing program is based primarily on the pace of Mission House’s individual clients. When a client is enrolled in Mission House’s Meals and Showers program, they are eligible for six months of services -- Case Management services included. During this time, if the client does not have income, Case Managers will work them to determine ways they can obtain or increase their income, often by assisting with Social Security benefit applications and coordinating job search opportunities.
When a client feels ready to move into permanent housing, the client is able to work with a Case Manager to identify potential housing units, with Case Managers able to provide housing lists, if needed.
Once a housing unit has been selected by the client, the client must be approved for tenancy by the landlord or property manager. If approved for tenancy, the client can then submit a request to Mission House for housing financial assistance. Case Managers review the requests with the client to determine both the client’s and Mission House’s contribution to the move-in costs. If there are any costs not covered, the Case Manager may often advocate for additional assistance from Mission House’s various community partners.
Once the move-in costs are paid and a lease is signed, the client is then transferred from the Mission House Meals and Showers program to Mission House’s Case Management Follow-Up program. The Follow-Up program consists of the Case Management Coordinator completing monthly follow-ups by phone or in person, for the next 12 months, to ensure that the client is able to access and utilize any available resources or referrals needed to maintain housing.
What is Mission House, Jacksonville?
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. “Today, Mission House’s number one goal is to assist people who are homeless off the streets of the Beach and back to productive, self-sufficient lives,” stated Mission House’s Executive Director, Lori Anderson. She continues, “Anyone who is interested in getting involved with Mission House can visit our website at missionhousejax.org or give us a call at (904) 241-6767 to receive general information regarding donations and volunteering.”