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Nonprofit Using Crowdfunding To Help Move Homeless People Into Homes

Ability Housing of Northeast Florida

A Jacksonville nonprofit is trying to move homeless people into a new apartment complex.

Ability Housing is turning to an Internet crowdfunding campaign to help ease people’s transition from the streets to their own homes.

Silverware, pillows, sheets, bed linens, toilet paper and paper towels are just a few things Ability Housing Executive Director Shannon Nazworth reads off of a list of about 40 items that will be given to homeless people moving into a new complex on Jacksonville’s Westside.

Ability Housing is an affordable housing developer, and it’s getting ready to open its newest complex for 43 residents on August 1.

Nazworth says it’s part of a “housing-first approach” to combatting homelessness.

“If you know where you’re going to sleep tonight, you can go on job interviews and give them an address. You can have a phone, you can sleep, you can schedule, you can get to the doctor’s appointments, you can store medication,” Nazworth said.

Nazworth says moving in this many people at once is a big project.

“We’ve never done 43 people in the course of a month,” she said.

So her nonprofit is trying to crowdfund $14,000 to get those people move-in kits.

“The unglamorous things,” Nazworth said “But the absolute life necessities.”

The kits are about 70 percent funded. Nazworth says the next step is buying beds.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.