First Coast Connect: Tackling Homelessness In Jax Beaches

Feb 22, 2017

Lori Delgado Anderson, executive director of Mission House, discussed it's changing the perception of homelessness Wednesday on First Coast Connect.

Mission House is being recognized by Jacksonville as the only day facility meeting the needs of the homeless by offering assistance at an individual level. It will host a community open house and tour Saturday, in honor of their 20th anniversary of service to the Beaches area.

Lori Delgado Anderson, executive director of Mission House, discussed it's changing the perception of homelessness Wednesday on First Coast Connect.

Anderson said the face of homelessness expanded beyond the urban core and has dramatically affected the beaches area over the years.

“Due to economic conditions, family background, and life situations, each one of our clients has faced a trial in their life that they may not have expected,” she said. “We are here to assist them in planning a way back to an independent and positive way of life.”

Anderson said Mission House does not serve as a shelter or a soup kitchen. Instead, it’s number one goal is to assist the people who are homeless off the streets and back to productive and self-sufficient lives.

“If you have someone in the shelter and they have a roof over their head every night, what is the incentive to get off the streets?” Anderson said. “We would rather put them on a path towards permanent housing and have that be the path to their success.”

Mission House has a free medical clinic for those who are without insurance, offers showers and a clean set of casual clothes two hours before each meal to each person.

Anderson said the organization is also able to help clients secure phones, food stamps and identification.

Mission House is supported through donations from the community, churches, foundations, corporations and more than 400 volunteers.

News Intern Joy Kader can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @joykader95.