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Beyond the GRACE Campus is the Street Outreach Team

Photo by Brad McClenny, Gainesville Sun

Photo by Brad McClenny, Gainesville Sun

GRACE is a one-stop resource center for people experiencing homelessness, but it goes beyond that. That is where the Street Outreach Team comes in. No matter their circumstances or where they are in the community, the team goes above and beyond to meet folks where they are. For those who are unable to access basic needs, the Street Outreach Program decreases these barriers that traditional service providers may have. This program always focuses on housing, and the team works diligently to provide services with the intent of permanent housing. 

Not only does the Street Outreach Team build connections with the folks working to get housed, but they also strengthen relations with the community, like the Gainesville Police Department, St. Francis House, and Alachua County as a whole. When the team receives referrals from the community, they respond as soon as possible, meet folks where they are, and help meet their needs. 

“GRACE is good at what it does, and the Street Outreach Program helps bring a housing service to those who can’t utilize GRACE services - that’s the key.” -Mark Watson, Street Outreach Program Manager.

With an expanding team, GRACE is more confident than ever that we can END homelessness in Gainesville. 

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The GRACE Women's Clinic

The inability to access health care is a critical issue for people without housing, with 3 in 4 people reporting at least one unmet health need, including medical, surgical, mental health, vision, dental, or access to appropriate medication. Homeless women in particular face additional challenges, ranging from increased risk of sexual assault to a lack of access to reproductive care and menstrual products. 

This month, women receiving services at GRACE will finally have access to the healthcare services they need and deserve. The GRACE Women’s Clinic will provide obstetrics (OB) and gynecology (GYN) services, all thanks to Grace Healthcare Services and the Alachua Area Medical Reserve Corp. Available services include prenatal care, STI testing and treatment, and wellness woman exams. Wellness woman exams may consist of pap smears, contraceptive management and counseling, general GYN concerns, and general health maintenance.

The GRACE Women’s Clinic will strive to help these women feel safe, comfortable, and supported. It is time for women experiencing homelessness to have access to adequate medical services. Everyone deserves a home, and everyone deserves access to the care they need to be safe and healthy. Women experiencing homelessness are no different, and we’re incredibly grateful to our community, our medical partners, and our supporters for helping bring this vision to reality. 

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2020 Year In Review | Here's to ending homelessness in 2021

2020 was a year of struggle, challenge, and - above all - innovation at GRACE. Our campus has been on a voluntary quarantine since March. We canceled fundraising events and suspended all volunteer programs, including meal groups. Financially, this represented a loss of more than $50,000 in community support each month. At the same time, we launched new campaigns, built on existing partnerships, and through it all, delivered and expanded key services to thousands of people in crisis. 

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Jon DeCarmine: Downtown homelessness requires the right services

Our Executive Director, Jon DeCarmine, responded to an article released by The Gainesville Sun last week.

"An article published last Sunday on downtown homelessness failed to include critical information on the complexity, and solutions, to the issue. 

The closure of Dignity Village did not increase downtown homelessness. Of the 222 people who lived there, 100 are now in permanent housing and 64 left town. Another 58 are waiting to be housed, and 41 of them sleep on the GRACE campus. Overall, only 17 people moved elsewhere, most to small camps scattered around town. 

So why are we seeing more people without housing downtown? There are a couple of options, the first of which is the most obvious. Very likely, there are more homeless people downtown. There’s a pandemic, and a much more insidious economic pandemic coming, and folks who were on the margins are being forced out of whatever tenuous housing arrangements they held onto up until this point.

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Jeff was recently featured in the New York Times discussing his battle with voting rights in Florida

Jeff was recently featured in the New York Times, discussing how Florida laws have affected his ability to vote after facing a felony conviction over 10 years ago. In our blog post, Jeff tells us us about his experience.

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GRACE In The News: Housing Not Handcuffs

The following article was published in the August Newsletter for Housing Not Handcuffs.

Successful Transition of Homeless Encampment to Permanent Housing in Gainesville

In Gainesville, Florida, a homeless encampment known as Dignity Village, in which experiencing homelessness resided, was approximately 350 people closed through provision of housing. Dignity Village was located near GRACE, the largest homeless services center and shelter in the city. When the city made it clear they wanted the camp closed, advocates from GRACE proposed a phased plan to the City of Gainesville so residents could obtain permanent housing. 

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Response to story by WCJB TV20 regarding positive COVID-19 cases at GRACE Marketplace

On August 5, 2020 WCJB TV20 published a story with factually inaccurate information regarding COVID-19 cases at GRACE. TV20 did not speak to anyone at GRACE before running the story. The article contained several errors.

Here are the facts:

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Q26. Why do you call the people you serve your "guests"?

This is a question from our Q&A series connected by Infotech. 

We call the people we serve guests for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it emphasizes the level of courtesy and respect we expect our team to extend to those we serve. Like elsewhere in the service industry, our guests receive a level of hospitality we are proud of, from the way they are treated to the quality of services we can offer.

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Jon DeCarmine, Harvey Rohlwing and Grant Harrell: Community partnerships at GRACE are bright spot in pandemic

Posted Jul 30, 2020 at 12:01 AM

Published by The Gainesville Sun

A community partnership between GRACE, the University of Florida Mobile Outreach Clinic, the Alachua Area Medical Reserve Corps, the Alachua County Health Department, Grace Healthcare Services Corp and the city of Gainesville has emerged as a model for how to continue providing services to the most vulnerable while preventing the spread of the virus.

As the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in the U.S., homeless shelters across the country scrambled to find ways to protect their clients from the impact of the virus. Shelter guests — many of them elderly and with severe underlying medical conditions — were particularly vulnerable to the virus, and the congregate settings many lived in could facilitate rapid transmission among this vulnerable population.

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Q25. What does 'GRACE' mean?

This is a question from our Q&A series connected by Infotech. 

Today’s GRACE campus grew out of Project GRACE: The Gainesville/Alachua County 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. The planning process involved more than 200 community members, including homeless and formerly homeless people, nonprofit professionals, health care providers, and housing developers.

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Lauren Poe
Mayor, Gainesville, FL
"They're doing remarkable work and changing the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people."
Dr. Bernie Machen
President Emeritus, UF
"GRACE's early success represents a truly remarkable launch of a much-needed community resource."

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