Because the Jacksonville homeless camp grows, town is hoping to boost extra money

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Katherine Creed is trying to survive. She lost her apartment three months ago.

Home is now on the corner of North Jefferson and West Beaver Streets.

“A lot of people don’t care and some don’t care,” Creed told News4Jax. “There are some compassionate people out there, but sometimes it’s a little bit far and wide. Sometimes you get one meal a day. “

At 62, Creed should be planning retirement or spending time with loved ones. It’s not an option at the moment.

She showed News4Jax her bed, which was hidden under a blue tarpaulin and protected from possible rain. Depending on the day, 20 to 40 people live in the homeless camp.

Ju’Coby Pittman is the CEO and President of the Clara White Mission, which serves the homeless in Jacksonville. The mission is across from the homeless camp.

“Now we’re in a pandemic so the room is different,” said Pittman.

Shelters have had to reduce their bed capacity by 50% due to COVID-19 social distancing rules. For some, camp is the best option.

Creed says she sees people of all ages living on the streets.

“This lady here is 85 years old. It’s the oldest I know, “said Creed.

According to the organization Changing Homelessness as of 2020, the number of homeless people in the Duval, Clay and Nassau counties has fallen from around 3,200 to around 1,500 in the last 10 years.

“It’s understandable that the homeless seem more visual as the accommodations are 50 percent full. So they have opened hotels and allocated resources when people need access to them,” said Dawn Lockhart, director of strategic partnerships at The Mayor’s Office Lenny curry.

Some homeless people feel safer outside and don’t want to lose the few personal items they have when they go to a shelter. They hope to get port-a-potties, trash cans, and more tents as they try to find a better way to live.

“We need help. Any help you know “Said Creed.” People need to be more compassionate and not look down on us like we are bums. Some people have that as a choice. This is not my choice. I don’t want to live that way. “

LINK: Jacksonville homeless shelters and services

The city looks forward to more funding from the Cares Act to help the homeless and get more of them into hotels.

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