ORLANDO, September 17, 2015—Homelessness rates in Florida have risen and the state now ranks 3rd in number of people affected. To address the shortage of permanent supportive housing options for chronically homeless individuals, veterans and families in Orlando and Jacksonville, JPMorganChase has granted $600,000 to Ability Housing to support the development of new permanent supportive housing units.
This grant from JPMorgan Chase will support Ability Housing’s efforts in both Central and Northeast Florida; $500,000 will go toward the nonprofit organization’s work in Orlando, and $100,000 will support its ongoing work in its home base of Jacksonville.
The banking firm has funded Ability Housing’s work in Jacksonville since 2002 and also provided the seed grant of $80,000 to explore expansion into Central Florida in the fall of 2014.
“Ability Housing is so grateful for the continuing support of JPMorgan Chase. Their investment in our mission over the past several years has helped end homelessness for many of our neighbors in Northeast Florida,” said Shannon Nazworth, Executive Director of Ability Housing. “This grant makes it possible for Ability Housing to expand and serve Central Florida, helping even more people exit homelessness.”
Ability Housing has developed 298 units of affordable and permanent supportive housing in Jacksonville. Through the grant, they will be adding units in Central Florida where there are very few permanent supportive housing developers.
Mel Martinez, Chairman for JPMorgan Chase in the Southeast and a former board member for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH), announced the grant today at a press conference in Orlando, where the CFCH presented “The Path Forward: Rethinking Solutions for Homelessness in Florida,” a report developed by leading national expert Barbara Poppe with funding support from JPMorgan Chase.
“Florida means opportunity for so many, and when we have families and individuals facing homelessness, we are falling short on that promise, and impeding prosperity and growth,” said Martinez. “To end homelessness in our state, we need the collective work and support from businesses, philanthropy and government to help more people in our state never have to worry about having a roof over their head.”
According to the new report, the main priority is to seek Housing First legislation to accelerate the creation of more affordable rental housing, implement rapid rehousing, and produce additional units of permanent supportive housing. This model has proven effective nationwide and is a centerpiece of Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness launched in 2010 under Poppe’s leadership.
“Ending homelessness is a complex, but attainable goal when we put the right resources at work, collaborate, and have in-depth information from people who experience it, so we can create the right strategies to help them,” said author Poppe, a top authority on the issue and former executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The report results are based on research and input from community dialogues conducted in Tampa Bay, Central Florida, Jacksonville and Miami to get local insight from homeless service providers, business leaders, and philanthropic funders.
The report also provides comprehensive data on the population affected by homelessness, including demographics and housing cost statistics. In addition, it outlines recommendations for providing services that can help the most at-risk and chronically homeless populations receive the help they need to obtain shelter, employment opportunities and access to care and wellness services.
The report comes on the heels of recent initiatives and efforts from mayors across Florida who are working to aggressively reduce housing instability in their communities. It follows the Commission’s Veterans Surge, which established a regional registry of former military service members experiencing homelessness, and the expansion of Ability Housing from Jacksonville into Central Florida to create an increase in affordable housing capacity.