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100 Homes Jacksonville: Ending Homelessness In 100 Days, 100 People At A Time

Cyd Hoskinson

The 100 Homes Jacksonville initiative announced today that it had found housing for more than a hundred chronically homeless individuals and veterans in less than four months time. 

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
U.S. Army Veteran Monique Varnado was helped by HUD/VASH and 100 Homes Jacksonville. She has an apartment in the Arlington area and plans to go back to school later this year.

The effort was so successful, in fact, that the organization is going for a repeat performance.

100 Homes Jacksonville kicks off its second Rapid Results campaign August 1st to find permanent, affordable housing for at least a hundred people who live on the streets, in the woods and under highway overpasses in Duval County. 

Shawn Liu, with the Department of Veterans Affairs, says the first 100-day housing push from March through mid-June forced organizations and community groups to come up with effective, often unconventional, solutions. Shared housing was one idea.

“It kind of mirrors the experiences they had in the camps and in the shelters. What we find a lot, too, is when somebody moves from a shelter with a lot of noise, a lot of people, into a place of their own, the silence is maddening. So being able to put them in a place where they have familiar company, a little bit of community, has been huge," says Liu.

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
Unit at Mayfair Village Apartments, Beach Boulevard.

100 Homes Jacksonville is a consortium of community groups and charitable organizations dedicated to ending chronic homelessness by December 2015. Shannon Nazworth, the head of Ability Housing for Northeast Florida, says once that’s accomplished, they’ll have the resources to help out in emergencies.

“If we can deal with the individuals who have been homeless the longest and get them into permanent housing and out of the homeless system, then we have a system that’s able to take a family or individual when they fall into homelessness, catch them really fast and get them back out of homelessness,” she says.

According to Nazworth, communities spend around $30,000 a year on services for the chronically homeless.

There are an estimated 3,500 homeless people living in Duval County. Nearly 2,000 homeless children attend Duval County public schools.

100 Homes Jacksonville's second 100 day campaign will run through mid-November.