Mission House Activates Cold Night Shelters For Beaches' Homeless Population

Jan 6, 2014

Organizations that help the homeless are ramping up their services as dangerously cold arctic air moves into the First Coast.

For the Mission House in Jacksonville Beach that means activating its cold weather protocol.

Credit Mission House, Inc. / Facebook

Mission House executive director Lori Anderson says they call it "Cold Night Shelters" and it kicks in when overnight temperatures are forecast to dip below 40 degrees.

Tonight's forecasted low in Jacksonville is 19 degrees.

"We have a group of six or seven churches in the area. We give them a call and then they have a shelter for our homeless folks,” she said.

Anderson says the churches make sure everyone has a warm place to sleep and something to eat.

St. Paul’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on 11th Avenue is tonight’s designated cold night shelter.

Anderson estimates there are between 200 and 300 homeless individuals who live in and around Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic Beach.

Mission House, located at 800 Shetter Avenue, is what's called a day shelter; place where the homeless can eat lunch and dinner, take a shower, and change their clothes.

Other services include two full-time case managers to help people find jobs, a free health clinic twice a week, a housing representative from the Sulzsbacher Center once a week and a veterans representative twice a month.

According to Anderson, 30 percent of Mission House clients are military veterans.

"And we want to make sure they get the benefits they're due," she said.

You can get more info on Mission House at MissionHouseJax.org.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.