The Jacksonville Day Resource Center supporters and friends were out this week in full force at Jacksonville’s City Council meeting to rally for funds for the center to stay open. As of October 1st, the JDRC will close its doors due to a lack of funding. The JDRC was a project under Mayor Alvin Brown’s administration. Brown selected Tillis Devaugh to serve as Program Director to create a plan for the center that would assist with eradicating homelessness in downtown Jacksonville. The JDRC doors are opened to the public Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center provided an opportunity for the homeless to take a shower, use the restroom, job assistance, food and more.
From 2012 to 2015 the center operated on a $120,000 budget. The building is owned by the City Rescue Mission and has three employees: two peer specialist and a Program Director. The two peer specialist salaries were paid by the Sulzbacher Center and the Program Director salary was paid with City of Jacksonville funds, while other project funds were supported by other nonprofits.
Before the City Council meeting, Mr. Devaugh submitted viable documents to Councilwoman Lori Boyer to review. In his efforts Mr. Devaugh submitted the JDRC white paper, a client survey and a stakeholder survey. Mr. Devaugh elaborated, “My goal was to educate City Councilwoman Lori Boyer that verifiable data is available and clearly shows the resource center making an impact in Jacksonville’s fight against homelessness. If the center is closed it would put its clientele on the street.”
Springfield resident Terrance Jones, said his concern was that closing the Day Center will have a direct affect on Springfield, because of its close proximity. Springfield currently has a disproportionately large number of illegal boarding houses, group homes, congregate care facilities and two labor pools. The neighborhood has a long history of dealing with the homeless community and the panhandling, loitering, intimidations, squatting and theft that happens as a result of hopelessness. “My question is what’s going to happen to the 150-200 homeless people who are going to show up Wednesday at the Day Center? Where will they go? Springfield? I certainly hope not. I want them to go straight to Hemming Plaza and take a seat there, then maybe the Mayor and whole City Council will recognize its importance.”