Kent Vann discusses services at SFH

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Summary
A description of needs and services at St Francis House since 2002.
December 7, 2015
The Bob Rose Show 97.3 WSKY FM News

Kent Vann, who has worked with St Francis House, Gainesville, Florida since 2002, and as Executive Director since 2005, discussed in this interview how services to homeless individuals and families have changed from then until now at SFH.

Increased numbers of families with children are noteworthy, and higher numbers of services provided.

SFH focuses on providing shelter, temporary housing, and permanent support of housing through case management.

They keep residents safe by requiring police clearances, rules and codes of conduct, and requiring compliance.

St Francis House is a member of the Homeless Coalition, Chamber of Commerce, and they are a United Way Agency. These relationships strengthen their capacity to multiply every dollar they receive. Their support services provide increased value per dollar than handouts given to individuals on the street.

75,000 to 100,000 meals are provided annually from St Francis House.

50 to 60% of people who are assisted by SFH need all services: food, shelter, case management, and employment, because they have no where else to go.

On any given day, one third of the residents at SFH are under the age of five.

There are approximately 2,000 homeless people in Alachua County. Other agencies provide assistance, although 900 people remain with no where to go, and no shelter.

SFH exists to hopefully go out of business when their services are not required. Currently, their challenge involves receiving necessary funding to implement their programs.

St Francis House is an agency with a three-fold approach to providing immediate, transitional, and long term services among properties they own.

  • A 60 to 90 day facility on Main Street, provides food, clothing, and shelter to satisfy immediate needs.
  • A transitional housing facility, Arbor House, for single women and women with children.
  • A 33 unit apartment house that provides permanent housing for single men and women.

SFH’s current annual budget is slightly less than a million dollars a year. For optimal effectiveness, that amount needs to increase by 50%. Currently, with decreased emphasis on St Francis House, while city and county agencies earmark the emerging agencies Grace Market Empowerment Center, and Dignity Village, they will not have enough capacity to function in the future without private funding from within the local community.

While St Francis can transition people out of its shelter, one factor that distinguishes it is the property it owns that will fill the gap in affordable housing in Gainesville, Florida

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