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Jacksonville Beach Shelter Sees Homeless Increase During Summer

Cyd Hoskinson

The latest point-in-time count found the number of people living on the streets in Jacksonville is around 400. That’s in the winter.

When the weather turns hot, the number of homeless people who show up there for help goes up another 30 percent or so, according to Lori Anderson, who is the Executive Director of Mission House at Jacksonville Beach.  

“Normally it’s anywhere from 40 to 60, but in the summertime it’s more like 60 to 80. It’s difficult when it gets up to 80 but we do accommodate them,” said Anderson, referring to the number of people using Mission House.

Mission House on Shetter Avenue is a day shelter for homeless adults.  It provides free lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as a place to cool off, take a shower and get a change of clothes.

“Some of the items we’re asking for [are] men’s boxers, short ankle white socks, reusable water bottles—they’re really important right now,” said Anderson.

She added insect repellant wipes are also needed.

Anderson said the shelter has seen a marked decrease in the number of infected bug bites since they started handing them out this summer.

The Sulzbacher Center in downtown Jacksonville is also open whenever the "feels like" temperature hits 100 degrees. 

“We keep water available for them. We have a room inside we call the library, which is air conditioned. And on days of extreme heat, like today, we can allow people to just come in, cool off, get some water, get a meal,” said Eileen Briggs of the Sulzbacher Center.

According to, Jacksonville's heat index was 100 degrees at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The Heat Index across Florida is pictured at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.