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Madison County rallies to help homeless population; providers explain funding options for Big Bend

Posted at 10:48 AM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-18 10:48:30-05
  • Community members from Madison County share some of the short term services they provide to vulnerable families
  • They say they've seen an increase in the number of homeless people they serve passing through to Tallahassee looking for shelters
  • Watch the video to find out what resources they provide, how you can access these services, and possible funding options for agencies tackling homelessness

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

We're traveling to Madison County to hear about some of the short term resources neighbors are providing to their own residents and shelterless individuals passing through. One service provider also shares possible funding options for these Big Bend Counties and ways they’re hoping to help an increasing homeless population.

"An opportunity to do something different thinking out of the box," said Jason Justus.

That’s been the mission of Jason and Amber Justus with Madison Church of God when helping people struggling to make ends meet. They’ve been partnering with organizations including Second Harvest, Madison County Ministerial Christian Alliance, the Sheriff’s Office, the county and many more.

But Amber said current circumstances make it difficult for the community to give back. "Between all the bills and trying to fix damage from the hurricane, we have nothing left," said Amber.

And Jason said demand for their services has increased. "I’ve actually taken a couple to the bus station in Tallahassee," said Jason.

That’s the goal destination, because Amber said the city has the homeless shelters. "We do what we have to do, but yeah there’s a lot of services that our county just can’t provide," said Jason.

During my research into homelessness in the Big Bend, that’s been a common theme for these rural counties. I visit Johnna Coleman executive director of Big Bend Continuum of Care to see what the process looks like if organizations are looking for support.

"It starts with us realizing what homelessness looks like in each of those counties. What resources they have that maybe able to be reallocated to those constituents," said Coleman. She said they will also work to expand current services.

Coleman said if the organization is interested in a grant they have to have a 501c 3 and "have the capacity to meet the need."

She said, like any grant, there a definitely lots of strings attached.

"There’s reporting, there’s you know invoicing, you know, and things that have to take place, and we want to be that place where agencies can find their footing and be able to build that capacity," said Coleman.

Coleman encourages interested agencies to reach out to them at Big Bend Continuum of Care. She says they will help you get to a place where you are eligible to apply for grants.