The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army kicks off its annual Red Kettle campaign in Duval County Friday.

Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

Updated March 17 1:05 p.m.

On this episode of Redux, we look at poverty on the First Coast.

In Duval County, roughly a third of the families here live on an income lower than what’s known as a “survival budget.”

Then there’s the homeless population on the First Coast, which has grown to more than 3,000, including approximately 2,000 in Jacksonville. We have an open letter from a homeless woman to Mayor Lenny Curry about how the city treats those without shelter.

But, homelessness isn’t exclusive to the urban core. We’ll look at what one organization is doing at the Beaches to help those most in need, help themselves. 

We also have an update on the Jacksonville Jaguars and the downtown shipyards project.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

A Jacksonville homeless woman is speaking out about the city’s treatment of those who live without shelter. She recently wrote to Mayor Lenny Curry and the City Council.

Wendy Jenkins was spending Thursday morning at Hemming Park. It’s where she normally goes after waking up and then again after breakfast at Clara White Mission. She used to stay in shelters but said they feel like prison.

The City Rescue Mission’s New Life Inn shelter hosted a Thanksgiving feast Wednesday for Jacksonville’s homeless. Between 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., more than 1,000 people were expected to be fed.

Around 100 volunteers from all over Jacksonville worked to provide the meals. Some even cooked the turkeys over the weekend.

“We are privileged to get to serve what we call our ‘invisible neighbors’ on the street,” said City Rescue Mission Executive Director Penny Kievet. “About 120 turkeys, actually 123 to be exact, were cooked for today.”

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s Ability Housing and the Sulzbacher Center are formally partnering to better help the city’s chronically homeless.

Ability Housing provides apartments and affordable homes to nearly 300 homeless or disabled people in Jacksonville.  

City Rescue Mission

With overnight temperatures hovering above freezing this week, Jacksonville’s City Rescue Mission homeless shelter is adding beds.

Village on Wiley homes
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Jacksonville nonprofit Ability Housing says public housing for the homeless is a good way to use public resources.

Ability Housing provides homes for people who don't have them. Executive Director Shannon Nazworth says when people are living on the streets they’re costing the state more than when they’re housed, mainly in emergency room visits and prison stays.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

As many people are preparing to travel home for the holidays, some Jacksonville residents still don’t have homes.

One advocacy group is helping ensure the city’s homeless aren't forgotten on Christmas.

homeless man on sidewalk
Mo Riza via Flickr

A memorial service was held in Jacksonville Monday morning to honor 20 homeless men and women who died this year.

Dawn Gilman, CEO of Changing Homelessness, says reading their names aloud was a way to honor their memory and recognize their value as human beings.

Sulzbacher Center


A proposed $18.5 million community for the homeless being planned by the Sulzbacher Homeless Center will be the subject of a public discussion tonight.

The project is called Sulzbacher Village, and it’s supposed to house up to 340 people, the Times-Union reported in October.


Big changes are planned for the 2016 One Spark crowdfunding festival. Organizers say the event will return to its roots by scaling back the number of days, adopting a tighter physical footprint in the city's urban core, and featuring less creators than previous years. We look at the future of One Spark with founder Elton Rivas and board chair Peter Rummell.

Google Maps

The Jacksonville City Council is asking for more information about a homeless day shelter that’s set to close at the end of this month.

Dozens of shelter advocates showed up at City Hall Monday night, pleading for funding to not be cut from the city’s budget.


Lindsey Kilbride


At the Doubletree Hilton Hotel on the Southbank of Jacksonville, more than 100 people were getting settled at round tables, Thursday.

It was day one of the action camp called: ZERO 2016, an intense two-day event aimed at ending veteran homelessness.


Gregory Todaro / WJCT News

More than 100 of Jacksonville’s homeless children were treated to a morning of back-to-school shopping Tuesday.

The Sulzbacher Center has been holding the event for six years. Money for the event came thanks to the Sulzbacher Center’s “Cool for School” campaign.

“This is helping a lot of people in need and people that are low on certain kind of funds that help their kids get what they really need right now,” said Timothy Laster, father of three who was with his kids shopping for new clothes at Old Navy.

All the kids who receive services from the downtown center got a $50 gift card. Sulzbacher spokeswoman Linda Hemphill says the kids and their parents were bussed to the Northside’s River City Marketplace.

A recent Associated Press analysis found that Hillary Clinton has raised more money in Florida than any other 2016 presidential candidate, including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Meanwhile, an ABC News poll of potential Republican voters showed Donald Trump with a double digit lead on other GOP candidates. We discuss the 2016 landscape with Matt Corrigan, UNF political science professor and author of "Conservative Hurricane: How Jeb Bush Remade Florida."

The state legislature adjourned for the year without expanding Medicaid to provide health insurance for about 800 thousand low-income Floridians. But the debate is far from over.

Federal money for the Low Income Pool, assigned to hospitals that care for the poor, will decline by another $400 million next year, and state lawmakers again will be under pressure to help hospitals offset their losses. It will also be the final year the federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for any Medicaid expansion plan the state approves.

We discuss the issue with state Sentator Aaron Bean and Representative Mia Jones.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

While some Jacksonville teenagers are worrying about who will ask them to prom or what car they’ll get on their birthday, others are just hoping they’ll have a bed to sleep in.

Tabitha Cobb and Zina Simpson both just graduated from Duval County Schools and are planning for college this fall.

Cobb will be off to the University of Central Florida where she’ll be majoring in psychology. She says she wants to open her own practice and help children.

Simpson was accepted to Florida A&M in Tallahassee. She also wants to help people as a registered nurse.

Melissa Ross / WJCT

Every year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires counties that receive funding for homeless services to conduct a survey of people who live on the streets. The annual Point in Time Count for Northeast Florida will be conducted this week in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. The results will be used to find ways to reduce the number of homeless people in the area by getting them into housing and jobs.

Peter Haden

Brian Richmond, 25, was discharged from the United States Air Force four years ago. He's been homeless for the last three and a half.

"My mom passed away. I ran out of money and couldn’t keep my house up, so had to sell it," he said. "So, I had to come out here - out to the streets."

He slept in a tent under a bridge in Jacksonville for two years. Then he got into the Sulzbacher Center - a transitional housing facility where he stays now.

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

Just a stone’s throw from the planned site of the new set of apartments for the homeless, dozens of residents voiced their thoughts Thursday night.