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3055 NE 28th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32609

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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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Q18. What are the requirements to stay in the GRACE shelter?

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

As a low-barrier shelter, our only requirement for shelter guests is that they work on a housing plan, to the best of their ability, with the support of our team. We start with a basic 30-day stay, and as long as someone is making progress toward that housing plan, their stay is extended.

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Q1. What is a diversion?

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

A diversion is a service that attempts to get someone the help they need - safe housing - before they enter the shelter system. It’s a process to help people uncover resources and opportunities they may not know they have available to them. Using motivational interviewing techniques and a script to explore alternatives, we can learn where someone stayed previously, what it would take to keep them there, and what other options might exist.

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What is a low barrier shelter?

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

Low-barrier shelters are built around the idea that programs should fit the needs of the people they serve, rather than trying to make the people served fit the needs of the program. As the only low-barrier shelter in North Florida, GRACE serves our guests regardless of whether someone has income, or is struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. 

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Does substance abuse cause homelessness?

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

Homeless people have only one thing in common: the lack of safe, affordable housing. Beyond that, many of the things we've historically associated with homelessness, like substance abuse and mental health issues, play a role for some individuals, but generally don't cause homelessness. That said, misuse of drugs and alcohol can make it difficult for people to obtain and maintain housing, and put those individuals at greater risk for homelessness (Moxley, et al., 2020). 

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GRACE announces voluntary quarantine in response to spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Effective March 20, 2020 at 7p, GRACE has announced a voluntary quarantine for its 25-acre homeless services campus at 3055 NE 28th Dr. At this time, GRACE has not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. These are proactive steps designed with the safety of our staff, our guests, and our community in mind. 

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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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