Shelter ServicesSeven Days A Week, 365 Days A Year
The Shelter provides free, unconditional and unlimited lodging accommodations to guests; between 120 and 150 each night of the year. The Shelter also provides showers with use of towels, all necessary hygiene items, clothing as available from the clothes closet, dinner and breakfast, crisis intervention services, relaying telephone messages, storage lockers, a post office box to receive mail, stationary and postage and reserved bed sections.
The Shelter will continue to admit any person who requests our services and agrees to follow our basic rules. No fees are charged.
The Shelter accepts all late-night referrals from local law-enforcement officers. The Shelter has long been recognized by local law-enforcement as a viable alternative to arresting people for very minor offenses. This saves the officer valuable time, and saves substantial taxpayer dollars by keeping the homeless out of jail - which is up to ten times greater than the cost of lodging a person in our facility. The Shelter currently offers ninety beds; sixty for males and thirty for women and/or children. The Shelter averages 150% capacity, because floor mats are utilized in the dining room for overflow, even in the summer months.
Shelter Collaborations & Partnerships
Mel Eby, the Executive Director of The Shelter, is unusual in that he is an administrator and a direct provider of services. Approximately 70% of his time is expended on crisis intervention services and counseling sessions. Mel has brought in several agencies in recent years to help provide a myriad of services.
In the spring of 2001, The Shelter formed a partnership with Good News Outreach to relocate their long-running free lunch program to The Shelter facility. The Board of Directors for The Shelter gave the use of the kitchen and dining room to Good News volunteers for serving their noon meals Monday through Friday. This program is a huge success, and now serves up to 130 people each day.
Day services like this have also brought a whole new set of volunteers and supporters to the agency. It has doubled the number of churches who are involved with helping the homeless people.
The Center for Independent Living (CIL) has a Health Education Specialist
to counsel the mentally ill, as well as guests with epilepsy,
diabetes, or those diagnosed with HIV infection. The contract
with CIL also provides The Shelter with an on-site social worker,
and an on-going program to help clients aspire to, and eventually
gain independent living. The CIL has assisted disabled Shelter
guests in obtaining subsidized housing since the program's inception
The Department of Veterans Affairs now provides on-site social services for guests who are military veterans. The homeless coordinator for veterans has access to an array of extra services, particularly medical care and housing assistance for qualified clients.
DISC Village Transitional Unit (substance abuse) provides weekly case management to Shelter clients, also on-site at the facility. The case worker visits weekly to meet with guests and also makes appointments for clients to meet at DISC Village Headquarters - just four blocks from The Shelter. The counselor assists with alcohol and drug problems, employment and housing.
Through Shelter staff providing information and referral, The Shelter connects the homeless with: GED - Literacy classes (at the Leon County Library three blocks from The Shelter); Legal Services of North Florida for civil matters; HIV related services from Big Bend Cares; tuberculosis testing from the Leon County Health Department; crisis stabilization services from the Apalachee Center for Human Services; and free medical care from Neighborhood Health Services.
An agreement has been established where uninsured Shelter residents will be accepted into the Apalachee Center Mental Health Crisis and Detox Center with referrals.
Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society visit regularly to consult with residents on civil issues such as disability applications for SSI benefits, etc.
The Leon County Health Department performs tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease testing of residents periodically. They have also provided this facility with ultraviolet lamps and installed special ventilation for two rooms to combat the spread of infectious diseases.
The Shelter provides guests with opportunities to earn a General Education Diploma, learn functional living/job skills or simply learn to read better. The Adult Community Education Department of the Leon County School Board sends a teacher four days per week to conduct eight hours of classroom instruction at the nearby Leon County Library.
A bi-weekly on-site legal clinic, sponsored by Legal Services of North Florida, provides free legal assistance for guests.