Assistance program to help Gainesville, Fla.’s, homeless through the winter
Shelters in Gainesville, Fla., will be able to provide additional services for the homeless during the winter months with new funding provided by the Cold Night Shelter program.
Cold Night Shelter allocates $50,000 from Alachua County and Gainseville to fund additional homeless shelter space on nights when temperatures dip below 45 degrees. According to The Gainesville Sun, quasi-government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funds.
Funds will be awarded to qualified applicants that provide temporary emergency indoor shelter and services for homeless persons and families from November 2013 to March 2014.
There are nearly 1,600 homeless people in Gainesville, with around 350 shelter beds to serve them, according to the Independent Florida Alligator. A quarter of the city’s homeless are under the age of 18.
Kent Vann, executive director of the St. Francis House, a local homeless shelter, told the Alligator that once the weather dips below freezing, he would take in anyone in need. Vann is applying for program funds for the third year in a row. He has never been denied.
“Everyone deserves a place to go on a cold night without being turned away,” Vann told the paper. This year, Vann told the Alligator he hopes to buy 60 new cots through the program. Any money left over would go to blankets, food and heating. The St. Francis House can accommodate 35 residents at a time, but can support an additional 100.
Applications for the program can be submitted online. For more information, contact John Wachtel of the Gainesville Housing and Community Development Division.