The Jacksonville TEOSA program has expanded it’s services, and as of late has aided in helping multiple homeless individuals stay off the streets, permanently.
The Jacksonville Temporary Emergency Overnight Shelter Accommodations, or TEOSA for short is making strides to assist Jacksonville’s homeless population. Jacksonville Police Department Chaplain, Allen Braddish says thanks to the assistance of outside organizations, things are progressing well at the center.
The Salvation Army has agreed to serve as a daytime warming center from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday on days the temperature stays below freezing. Braddish says having a place to go during the daytime hours was a big piece of the puzzle they were needing to fill.
On Monday new police clearance procedures took affect, with homeless individuals able to be cleared at the Jacksonville Police Department’s Substation at 300 East Walnut from 4 to 5 pm. Braddish says the two services are working hand in hand, as also beginning this week, homeless individuals can get a ride from the Salvation Army to the substation at 4pm daily, with the West Central Mass Transit District providing the transportation.
Braddish says however, anyone seeking shelter at the TEOSA must receive clearance before they can be admitted.
“They have to be cleared by both the police department and health screens. We are not able to serve registered sex offenders, those with warrants or those who are fighting COVID. So we would have to look at alternate placement for individuals that fit in that category.”
After 5pm, clearance procedures revert back to the Police Station on West Douglas Avenue, with no transportation available.
Braddish says the TEOSA is doing well with supplies, and have most of their internal and external needs covered, however they are in need of organizational help to provide meals a couple of days a week.
“We are shifting a little bit on the weekends, we still encourage TEOSA guests to utilize the food resource in the community during the week. The Spirit of Faith Soup Kitchen provides meals in the evening Monday through Thursday but we are needing to provide meals Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
One of the local churches has stepped up to the plate and they have covered Sunday, but we are still needing Friday and Saturday. So if there is anyone out there that would be interested in covering a meal on Friday or Saturday, they can just get in touch with me and I’ll give them the specifics of numbers and times and how to do that.”
Braddish says the TEOSA has also reached another goal in December as they aided in keeping individuals from being back out on the streets.
“Three of our overnight guests that have been with us at various times during the winter month of December have found places of their own, so they are no longer considered homeless. And that was the second goal of out TEOSA was to not only give them a warm, dry safe place to lay their head at night, but to also help them find permanent residence. So that has been accomplished with a number of our overnight guests and that’s pretty exciting.”
Braddish says the next training for new TEOSA volunteers is coming up on Monday, January 18th from 1 to 3 pm. Braddish says he has had some interest in the training and felt holding it on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will hopefully allow for some to be able to attend when they are normally at work.
To find out more about the TEOSA, register for a training class, or interest in providing meals, contact Alan Braddish at 217-719-9358 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.