Construction on a new facility to serve Tallahassee's homeless is now under way.
A ground breaking ceremony was held Wednesday at the corner of Pensacola and Dupree.
A public-private partnership is the driving force behind the roughly
Some of those partners took part in a ground breaking ceremony for the 36,000 square foot facility.
The city of Tallahassee, Leon County and the United Way of the Big Bend are putting up $1.5-million for the project.
There's an effort to get state government to match that figure in the upcoming session.
And private money from the Beatitude Foundation is expected to make up the difference.
In addition to having enough beds to comfortably sleep 390 people, the facility will host an infirmary and several non-profits to deliver services to the homeless.
"This center goes well beyond just providing shelter," said United Way of the Big Bend President Heather Mitchell. "This center is a game changer for our community," she said. "This center will unite homeless providers creating a stronger continuum of care for those who seek these services," Mitchell said.
The idea is to treat and transition people out of homelessness.
"We're actually seeing statistics showing that we are getting more people out of homelessness per day here in Tallahassee than some of the most advanced centers in places like Washington, D.C. or Atlanta, Georgia," said Beatitude Foundation Chairman Rick Kearney.
Final cost estimates for the infirmary part of the center aren't complete yet.
It's hoped the center will be open by the end of the year.
Right now, it's being called the "Comprehensive Emergency Services Center".
But partners are asking the public to come up with a new and better name for the center.
News Release: United Way of the Big Bend
What: United Way of the Big Bend invites you to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new comprehensive emergency services center.
Who: United Way of the Big Bend President Heather Mitchell and Board Chair Ron Sachs; City of Tallahassee - Mayor John Marks, Commissioner Gil Ziffer; Leon County - Board of County Commissioners Chair Kristin Dozier; The Shelter Board Chair Debbie Holt and Executive Director Jacob Reiter; Big Bend Homeless Coalition Executive Director Susan Pourciau; Renaissance Community Center Director Chuck White, and the Beatitude Foundation Board Chair Rick Kearney.
Where: Corner of Dupree and Pensacola Street
When: Wednesday, February 19 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Background: After months of planning we are happy to announce that we will break ground on a new facility to serve the homeless population in our community. Thanks to a unique partnership among the City, the County, the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, The Shelter, The Renaissance Center, The Beatitude Foundation, and United Way of the Big Bend, a location has been secured and plans have been drawn for the 36,000 square feet building that will house a host of non profits who will collaborate to deliver services to this at-risk population.
Join us for:
· Presentations from key stakeholders
· A special performance by the Shelter Band