Mike Davis, President of A D Davis Construction in St Augustine, reports to Historic City News that, after three years as a volunteer community initiative of United Way of St Johns County, Home Again St Johns has incorporated as a standalone non-profit organization.
According to Davis, “The work of Home Again St. Johns has developed to the point that we need to stand on our own.” Home Again St. Johns is focused on the issue of homelessness in St Augustine and St Johns County.
When problems arose from the unorganized and uncontrolled serving of an evening meal from the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitution, Home Again St. Johns provided the leadership to relocate the feeding to Bridge Street. This highly successful project has added over 20 new groups of volunteers, mostly from local churches, which purchase and prepare the food they serve one night a month according to an established schedule.
Home Again St Johns has regular monthly meetings of providers to coordinate on services, business leaders to facilitate support for services and a site selection committee to identify an acceptable permanent location for a one-stop center for the homeless.
“Opening Doors for the homeless in St. Johns County” is the resource brochure, compiled, published and regularly updated by Home Again St. Johns. This grew out of the monthly “Provider Meeting” held at the Center in St. Augustine, 9:00 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month.
Parking meters for the homeless grew out of the Business Leaders meetings of Home Again St. Johns. This is an effort to discourage tourist and local citizens from giving money to panhandlers by providing an alternative donation location in the form of artistically decorated parking meters placed in local businesses.
St. Augustine Vice-Mayor, Leanna Freeman, is chair of a group of community leaders focused on finding a location, which will garner community support, for an adequately sized one-stop center for the homeless.
Office space of the new non-profit is being donated by A. D. Davis Construction. Financial support for Home Again has come from United Way of St. Johns County, The City of St. Augustine, The Visitor and Convention Bureau, private foundations and concerned citizens.
“We are picking up great support and momentum for the work of Home again St. Johns, expect to hear a lot more from us in 2012,” said Vice-Mayor Freeman.
To get more information or volunteer to help contact David Hoak at 904-347-4445. Mail donations to Home Again St. Johns, 3940 Lewis Speedway, Suite 2201, St. Augustine, FL 32084.