Ten years ago, a group of us got together to re-think how we provided homeless services in Alachua County. The way we had been doing things wasn’t working. Getting help was like running an obstacle course.
We were asking people with little or no access to transportation to run back and forth across town, from one agency to another, desperately trying to stitch together the resources and referrals they needed to pull themselves back on their feet.
The same problems that contributed to people becoming homeless – limited transportation, lack of knowledge about available help, physical and mental health problems, and more – also made it difficult for people to get back into housing.
Community leaders, advocates, volunteers, and homeless and formerly homeless people spent six months working on the issue. GRACE Marketplace emerged from these discussions as the central piece of our community’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. GRACE brings together the best social service and health care agencies in our community to strengthen the safety net for our friends and neighbors.
What We Do at GRACE
We are a one-stop assistance center for people without housing, bringing together key social service agencies in one location to make it easier for people in our community to get the help they need. We provide emergency shelter (indoors) and an outdoor shelter pavilion for men and women. We also provide meals, day services, laundry, storage, a computer lab, a clothing closet, case management, AA/NA meetings, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and, most of all, a place people can call home.
GRACE Marketplace is a project of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit with two decades of experience developing and coordinating homeless services in North Central Florida.
What We Need & What You Get
Our current operating budget is not enough to provide the level of services required to help people transition back to self-sufficiency. We are raising $50,000 to support and expand the programs and services currently offered at GRACE Marketplace. 100% of your donation goes directly to support programs and services at GRACE Marketplace. All money raised through this campaign will be used to:
- Expand supportive service and case management options,
- Provide move-in assistance (first/last month rent and security deposit), and
- Improve safety and security on our 25-acre campus.
When it comes to donations:
$1 covers the cost of a meal for one hungry person.
$25 provides a day of comprehensive services for one person.
$50 provides a week of day shelter (bathrooms, phones, showers, storage of personal belongings, and a place to get off the street and relax) for one person.
$100 will provide a week of overnight shelter for one man or woman without a safe place to call home.
$186 covers the cost of ordering pizza for 100 evening guests when we don’t have a group from the community coming in to provide dinner.
$500 provides the security deposit needed to move one person out of homelessness and into housing.
$1000 provides the security deposit and first month of rent needed to get a person off the streets and into housing.
Homelessness is the most visible symptom of poverty in our community. Whether you think homelessness is a crisis, a social justice issue, a women’s issue, a veterans’ issue, a health care issue, or just something you don’t want to see anymore in downtown Gainesville, GRACE Marketplace is part of the solution.
Since we opened in May of 2014, we have provided 20,000 meals and over 5,000 nights of shelter to homeless men and women in Alachua County. The majority of the 100+ people living in the former Tent City south of downtown have moved out to the GRACE campus. We have helped move 80 people off the streets and back into housing since we started, and with your help, we can continue to provide these and other high-quality services.
GRACE provides easy access to services for people experiencing homelessness by providing a safety net for our friends and neighbors.
See our current GRACE partners by visiting the Shelter & Services page.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can’t contribute financially, please consider helping in one of these other ways:
- Spread the word! Ask your friends to #fundGRACE, and share this campaign on social media!
- Organize a donation drive at your workplace, school, or church. We always need men’s and women’s hygiene items, new socks and underwear, blankets, coats, sweaters, bug sprays, tents, and sleeping bags!
- Volunteer! Check out our Volunteer page to learn more about how you can donate your time.