Jacksonville Police Chaplain Alan Bradish has been working behind the scenes since the last Jacksonville City Council meeting in September to secure a temporary shelter for the city’s homeless population.
Bradish told the City Council Tuesday night that he has worked out an agreement with the owners of the former Times Theatre building on East State Street as a possible location of the shelter. Bradish is working with several local contractors to install proper bathrooms and update building codes so that an overnight shelter can be made on the most bottom floor.
Bradish was told by Jacksonville City Attorney Dan Beard that an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance for the downtown area as well as an approval from the City’s Plans Commission needs to happen before the shelter can open.
Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says he’s confident that Bradish will get it done in the next four weeks: “At the last meeting, there was no one that came forward with ideas and Alan just went ahead. We have spoke often along with the Community Development Department and Brian Nyberg. They have walked through the facility. With all of the meeting criteria and paperwork, we think we can get something done in early November to where we can open a temporary housing facility. I think there will be more to come as Alan keeps developing his plan. He wants to do right for folks that are in need during a tough time, and the winter months are just right around the corner. He’s got moving on this. We need to get moving with him.”
Bradish says that he has received some donations from Home Depot and private individuals. If the commission and the paperwork along with approval of the clause in the zoning ordinance go through, the temporary shelter is expected to be open by November 15th.