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

See full article written by Cyd Hoskinson here.

Mission House Celebrating 20 Years of Compassion by the Sea

(Jacksonville Beach, FL) For over ten years, members and volunteers of Christ Episcopal, Palms Presbyterian, and St. Paul’s Catholic and Episcopal churches were feeding and clothing individuals facing homelessness at the beaches utilizing their halls, gymnasiums, and even the backs of their station wagons. The need at the beach was plenty, but the resources were scarce. It wasn’t until February 1997 that these four churches along with over 162 donors purchased the property at 800 Shetter Avenue in Jacksonville Beach and Mission House was born. Of the many amazing supporters, two of Mission House’s noteworthy founders and early board members were Dr. Raymond Daly III and Mary Alice Wester. Shortly after launching Mission House, the founders noticed a lack of medical care available to individuals facing homelessness. Working in partnership with the Baptist Beaches Medical Center, the First Annual Beach Ball was held in May of 1998.  Proceeds from the ball funded the design and construction of a medical facility, which opened in October of 1998. Over the last 20 years, Mission House has impacted thousands of individuals from meals and showers to case management, workforce development, housing, and medical care. On any given month, Mission House serves over 1,400 meals, serves an average of 30 new patients in their medical clinic, accommodates an average of 215 case management visitors per month, including new and repeat, helps an average of 7 new clients find employment, and assists an average of 10 clients to find housing.

Due to economic conditions, family background, and life situations, each one of Mission House’s clients have faced a trial in their life that they may not have expected.  Mission House is there to assist them in planning a way back to an independent and positive way of life. One of those clients is Kathleen. Kathleen worked for the IRS for over 20 years. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Kathleen ended up losing everything where she found herself living on the streets. Kathleen came to Mission House for the necessities - food, clothing, and a shower. The number one goal at Mission House is to assist people who are homeless off the streets and back to productive and self-sufficient lives. Thanks to case management services offered at Mission House, Kathleen was able to find employment and housing shortly after visiting the Mission. To date, Mission House is still 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. In honor of the 20th year anniversary, Mission House will be hosting a community open house February 25, 2017. Mission house will recognize the city officials for their support and dedication over the years, including Jacksonville Beach Mayor's, Chief of Police, and much more. It will also be a great opportunity for those in the community to learn more about Mission House’s services and take a look around the recently renovated facility. To learn more about this community open house in honor of Mission House’s 20th year anniversary, you can contact the Mission by phone at 904-241-6767, by email at, or online by clicking here.

Birth of Hope: Mission House’s Medical Clinic Providing Hope for Hundreds in Need

(Jacksonville Beach, FL) One of the most critical issues facing people who are homeless is the lack of medical care available. Established in October of 1998, thanks to a partnership with the Baptist Beaches Medical Center, Mission House opened the doors to their free medical clinic. Since then, Mission House has provided hope to thousands of individuals facing chronic medical issues without the opportunity to receive medical care. As a part of the WeCare Referral Agency, Mission House Clinic assists people who are homeless and uninsured low-income adults every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.  The clinic is staffed by 100% volunteer medical professionals.  Every doctor, nurse, pharmacist and intake person gives their time and talent to provide medical care to hundreds of people who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn. “On any given month, the Mission House Clinic serves 30 new patients, provides medical care to roughly 175 returning patients, and our volunteer medical professionals serve around 350 clinic hours,” stated Mission House Executive Director Lori Anderson. The total value of the medical services offered exceeds $20,000 a month.

The Mission House clinic provides immediate medical care to those exhibiting pain or chronic medical issues that need attention. Patients must be at least 18 years of age. Appointments are taken on Mondays from 1pm to 3pm and Thursdays from 1pm to 3pm. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Mission House clinic has been sustained and continues to provide hope for hundreds in need. To learn more about the Medical Clinic, and or to get involved, visit online at or by phone at 904-241-6767.

FALL-ing out of Bad Habits

It's that time of the year again; Fall. Admired for the pleasant temperatures and vibrant floral colors, Fall is an anticipated time of the year for many. Unfortunately here in Northeast Florida, not much change is seen in our vegetation or climate. For Mission House, however, a transformation is being seen daily. Mission House staff serves a minimum of 250 visitors a month. These visitors come to Mission House for a variety of reasons. The Mission House Clinic provides immediate medical care to those exhibiting pain or chronic medical issues that need attention. For adult men and women who find themselves circumstantially homeless or jobless, Mission House case managers develop plans to restore their independence. Lastly, Mission House also facilitates programs and services designed to rehabilitate broken individuals facing a drug or alcohol addiction

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” Dennis quotes Romans 8:28 in telling his story.   As the former Mission House client will tell you,  he and God have come a long way.  There were many obstacles to overcome from the start.  Dennis' father was killed when he was two, and his mother became very unstable and did not manage the grief very well. He was raised in Chicago in a home where watching people shoot up was common.  He remembers watching people overdose.  He was using marijuana and alcohol at age eight and was removed from his home by Child Protective Services at age 11.  He was in several foster homes before being placed in a group home where he nearly completed high school and was able to get his GED.  However, he began using cocaine and PCP and stealing to support the habit. He was hanging with the wrong crowd, making bad choices, stealing from family to support his gambling addiction, and was in and out of jail. He vowed to get serious about pursuing God, the 12 steps, and the man he truly wants to be.  

Although Dennis had spent over 10 years in Jacksonville, he had never heard of the Mission House. While he was in jail, Dennis has heard some fellow inmates talking about Mission House and the services they provide. After he was released in June of 2015, Dennis made his way to see how Mission House could help him. Coming to Mission House, he began meeting one on one with a MH case manager that included developing a plan to obtain employment, housing, and substance abuse services. Thanks to Mission House, Dennis was able to land a night job at V-Pizza, currently lives at TruSoba, a faith-based clean and sober house run by Jeffrey Browne where he also works there in maintenance and construction. On his free time, Dennis loves giving back to the Jacksonville community. He is an active volunteer at BEAM, Mission House, and other local agencies while holding onto the faith that God will continue to show him ways to grow and will continue to provide and “work for the good” every step of the way.

Making Waves: Mission House's 6th Annual Compassion by the Sea Benefit

Mission House is gearing up for its 6th Annual "Compassion by the Sea," fundraiser. Mission House is the only day facility available to meet the needs of the homeless adults that call the beaches their home. With more than five facilities located downtown, many Jacksonville residents often forget about the same issues taking place over the ditch. Since 1997, Mission House has assisted individuals facing homelessness on the beach, get off the streets and back to productive and self-sufficient lives. Mission House provides food, clothing, and support seven days a week. "We are the only answer for adults who find themselves homeless in the beaches area. We provide more than two hot meals a day, a fresh pair of clothes, and showers; we offer case management, where our clients meet one-on-one with our certified case managers to obtain identification, sources of income, housing, substance abuse referrals, medical assistance through our clinic, and many other solutions for our neighbors in need," stated Lori Anderson, Executive Director at Mission House. Thanks to donations, volunteers and fundraisers like Compassion by the Sea, Mission House serves over 1400 meals monthly, provides case management to 18 clients a month, and on average, assists seven clients find employment with 10 clients able to find safe housing each month. One of Mission House's most recent success story's  is about 46 year old Kevin. Kevin is deaf and suffers from frequent seizures and chronic pain due to multiple car accidents. Kevin is an example of someone who became circumstantially homeless, and was forced to live in his car for more than 8 months. Learning about Mission House, Kevin came for a warm meal and a shower. He immediately turned to one of Mission Houses' case managers for help. Shortly after, Kevin was able to find employment, housing, and through Mission House's partnership with Hands On Jacksonville’s HOPE Fund, Kevin was able to receive funding to afford dentures he desperately needed. Compassion by the Sea is Mission House's only fundraiser. All contributions help Mission House  continue to provide kindness and programs to individuals facing needs at the beaches.

This 6th Annual fundraiser is taking place Friday September 16, 2016, at the newly renovated Atlantic Beach Country Club. The event is from 6:00p.m. - 10:00p.m. Guests will enjoy wonderful food, free beer and wine, music by POPZ, live and silent auctions, including a special experience with "one of the 50 Most Influential People in Jacksonville," Sam Kouvaris. To learn more or purchase your tickets online, please visit or by phone at 904-241-6767.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July is a tradition here at Mission House. Summertime is especially difficult for us as many are away on vacation and do not think of donating in the summer as they do at holiday times.  Our number of clients increases by 30% in the summer months.  That is 30% more meals, clothing and assistance given to our clients.  

If you could help, we would appreciate donations of the following items that are needed at this time of year:

  • Triple edge disposable razors
  • White socks
  • Men’s and women’s underwear
  • Individual sun screen and bug wipes

For only $84 a month, $1,000 annually, you can become a member of our Samaritan Circle.  This can be done by mail or through our website donation page along with any other credit card donations, Donate Here. Mission House also accepts gifts of stock, insurance, bequests and endowments.

Your generosity will help us purchase these items to help our clients in the heat of the summer and to fend off mosquitoes as they sleep outside in the evenings. There are no overnight shelter facilities in the beaches area and the downtown shelters are already overcrowded.

Again, we thank you for your generosity and continued support.  Anything you can do to help us achieve our number one goal of getting people who are homeless off the street and back to an independent and productive life will be greatly appreciated.

Donations can also be made by check, payable to Mission House, and mailed to:

Mission House Inc. 800 Shetter Ave. Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 (Between 8th and 9th behind Beach Blvd. Bowling Alley)