Project GRACE, the Gainesville/Alachua County 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, is the guiding document behind the community initiative to address the root causes of homelessness -- a lack of affordable housing and the lack of a living wage. The plan maps out strategies in a multi-pronged approach to to get people off the streets and back into housing as quickly as possible. At the same time, the plan calls for prevention services to keep at-risk individuals and families from losing their housing in the first place.
Project Grace is a nonprofit initiative of the City of Gainesville/Alachua County office on Homelessness to prevent homelessness by helping families develop the skills to find and keep housing. We have over 200 partners who participated in developing the 10-year-plan to end homelessness and support this effort.
Gainesville is one of 300 cities nationwide to have a 10-year-plan to end homelessness.
We have already been successful. Within the first 15 months of our existence we cut homelessness by 20% and secured over $1 million in funding to help disabled homeless people, increase affordable housing and bolster options for shelter during inclement weather. We have since brought in another $3 million to support our efforts to fight homelessness.
We also were able to support reuniting some homeless persons with their families and provide $100,000 to support our partners in their efforts.
Annually , we conduct a “point in time” survey of the homeless in our area. This information helps us know what kind of people are facing homelessness in Alachua County.
A key component of our plan to prevent homelessness is the Grace Marketplace One Stop Center, which will provide comprehensive services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Such services include job training, mentoring, life skills like budgeting, crisis management, understanding the legal obligations of a tenant, housing referrals, showers, preventive medical care and more.
Many people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless need help with life skills such as budgeting effectively. Job training, mentoring, crisis management, domestic violence support and training on tenant rights and responsibilities are among the support services offered to homeless individuals at the Grace Marketplace.