President and CEO, Sulzbacher Center
To help our homeless neighbors find the way home. We are the largest and most comprehensive homeless provider in Northeast Florida. We are currently home to 346 men, women and children on any given night. Of that number, 200 are women and children (families being the fastest growing segment of the homeless population not only locally but nationwide).
We operate two Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers where we provide primary care, behavioral health, dental, optical and substance abuse services. We not only serve our own residents but we serve the community as well, more than 200 patients per day.
In our shelter, all residents are required to be in case management.
We also serve more than 1,200 meals per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year, to anyone who is hungry in this community.
Sulzbacher Center was founded in 1995 as a community partnership between three stakeholders: the City of Jacksonville, the United Way and a group of area businesspeople and philanthropists (this group was led by I.M. Sulzbacher). This group wanted to establish a “center of services” where homeless people could go and address, in a holistic way, the issues that brought them to the street.
All of Northeast Florida, but mainly Duval County. In our last fiscal year ending in June, we provided 127,435 nights of shelter to 1,695 unduplicated individuals; we served 453,166 meals; and we provided more than 20,000 patient visits in our clinics, among other services.
Our biggest challenge is trying to meet the enormous need with limited resources. We are currently turning away 65 men and women daily for shelter. Our waiting list is weekslong. It is so heartbreaking every day at 1 p.m. to see the long line forming for beds and watching the majority of the people trudge away a half-hour later to sleep on the street because we cannot accommodate them.
It is even worse on the family side of the shelter. We currently have more than 80 families on our waiting list for shelter.
We have close to 200 people in our outside community feeding line every day at lunch and dinner. This is in addition to the 346 residents we are feeding.
My biggest satisfaction is two parts.
First is “move-out” day when a family or person is moved into their own home to start a new life. My second is 18 months after they move out when they are still housed and self-sufficient. We follow people through our Aftercare Department for 18 months. Our true measure of success is the people who are still housed at that time. Right now that percentage is more than 80 percent.
Annandale, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.
First experience with community service
Working with migrant farm workers, homeless and at-risk families through my church in the mid-1980s in South Florida. My most impactful community service was working in Homestead with Hurricane Andrew victims in the days after the storm.
Your job before Sulzbacher Center
I was the executive director of BEAM, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, an organization that serves at-risk Beaches families. Before that, I was a sales and marketing professional for 22 years with a Fortune 500 company.
We are currently in our “Give a Good Night Campaign” for the holidays, where folks can purchase a greeting card representing a night of shelter.
We also are planning our 8K run for Feb. 18 at the Landing.
www.giveagoodnight.com for holiday cards.