Jacksonville Salvation Army Receives Grant Funding to Help Homeless Find Temporary or Rental Housing

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 2, 2023 at 9:23am

The Jacksonville Salvation Army is helping to combat homelessness in the area thanks to a pair of grants.

Jacksonville Salvation Army Captain Chris Clarke announced Wednesday morning, that the organization, has for the second year in a row, received grant funding aimed at helping those who are homeless out of the weather and into both temporary and more permanent housing.

Clarke says they are able to assist those who are struggling, including the homeless, any day of the week however, there will be an open event this Friday at the Citadel on West Douglas Avenue to help those who can benefit from the programs.

The first grant is the Emergency Food and Shelter Program which is a FEMA-funded program. Clarke says that the EFSP funding allows the Salvation Army to help those who are homeless by getting them off the street and into temporary housing.

We have one grant that is specifically to help people who are homeless by providing temporary motel sheltering, and then with that we will put people up for a week at a time and we give them goals to meet each week.

So like if it’s an able-bodied person that is probably going to be getting a job, or they might have limitations that they need to take care of first like if they don’t have an ID or a birth certificate, some reason that they can’t get a job then we’re going to help take care of those. We even buy people like steel-toed shoes, or some people need slip-resistant shoes. If there is something they need to get back to work we will help them with that.

But they have to be working on their situation as well, either getting a job or looking for a place to move into. But they have to be doing something proactive and then we can extend their stay as long as they continue to work on their situation.”

Clarke says the other grant funding via the Rapid Rehousing Program, allows the Jacksonville Salvation Army to help homeless clients to get into a more permanent rental housing situation.

So if someone is homeless and they can find someplace to stay, they could rent a house or an apartment or really anything as long as they can get a landlord to rent to them. Some people are going to have a challenge with that whether it is with their credit or they have been banned from other housing or other things. If they can find someone willing to rent to them, we can help them.”

Clarke says the program can actually provide rent assistance to homeless clients while they work to get back on their feet financially. He says they work with landlords in the area regularly, but unfortunately, there is a large need for low-income housing availability in the area.

The programs come at a time when the homeless population is on the rise in the Jacksonville area. During last week’s Homelessness Steering Committee meeting, members discussed the increasing need for services in the community. As of that meeting, the New Directions Warming shelter on West State Street was full and unable to accept new people. And if there were openings, some people do not meet all of the requirements to stay.

Clarke says the Salvation Army programs can help these people off the street and that anyone experiencing homelessness is invited to the Salvation Army Citadel located at 331 West Douglas Avenue at 10:30 am Friday for the open event.

Representatives from MCS Community Services as well as additional social workers from the Quincy Salvation Army will be on hand to assist.