The community gathered to celebrate a milestone with the staff and supporters of Mission House, the beaches only homeless day facility, on Monday with a grand re-opening and ribbon cutting hosted by the Jacksonville Beach Chamber. Mission House recently completed a large expansion project, all the while still providing essential services to the area’s homeless.
Mission House, the only day facility serving the beaches’ homeless, operated for 18 years before reaching a point where expansion was essential to meet the counseling and healthcare needs of its clients. The solution was to add a second level to the current building for administrative offices and renovate the first floor area to better accommodate clients and patients, and the staff and volunteers who serve them.
Mission House and supporters began “raising its roof” in 2015 on Good Friday, and the project was officially completed this month.
“We did this because (our clients) deserve a place to come and have service in a respectful, dignified manner,” said Executive Director Lori Anderson. Anderson said the clinic used to have a fabric partition as the only means of privacy. “Now we have private offices to talk to them,” Anderson said. “Our patients now have privacy. “
In addition to new offices and computer rooms for clients, the clinic has two more exam rooms which will give Mission House the opportunity to serve more low income and homeless patients and alleviate their need to unnecessarily use the emergency room for their ailments.
“It is very exciting for us,” said Mission House 2016 President Tom Perry. “This is going to give us a chance to better serve the less fortunate in our community. They deserve it. Lori and her tremendous team do a great job already, but it’s going to be even better this coming year.”
During the week before Monday’s ribbon cutting, Mission House hosted a dinner for board and staff members whose generosity in donations and time helped to make the expansion possible. Local chef David Medure cooked for those in attendance, with board members helping in the kitchen and beyond. The dinner was followed by a champagne toast and a tour of the new facility for those gathered.
“We’ve come a long way and we are very, very proud of what we’ve done,” Anderson said.
Mission House is located at 800 Shetter Ave. in Jacksonville Beach. For more information, call (904) 241-6767 or visit www.missionhousejax.com.