Jacksonville’s homeless youth have a new sanctuary. JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network) recently opened a new new day center designed to support teens in need.
Homelessness rose 145% among youth between 2017-2018, according to counts by Changing Homelessness Inc. JASMYN reports that 60% of Jacksonville’s homeless youth population are LGBTQ compared to the national rate of 40 percent.
Day Services Center
Paul Schilling and James Dutton of Vilano Beach donated the Youth Safety Net Resource Center building (JASMYN Connex) and Industry West donated the furniture. The organization broke ground in December 2018 and put a million dollars into renovation efforts.
The day center now offers computer and phone usage, hygiene products, food, showers, laundry facilities and counseling to teens in need.
Fifteen community partners help provide medical care, housing and other needs for these teens without homes.
“Breaking the cycle of homelessness starts with someone who cares, and we make every effort to open our arms and make them feel welcome when they come to JASMYN,” Executive Director Cindy Watson said. “The idea is to make them feel comfortable and to assist them in a warm and caring way at a very vulnerable time for them.”
Homelessness rose 145% among youth between 2017-2018, according to counts by Changing Homelessness Inc. About 60 percent of the Jacksonville’s homeless youth population are LGBTQ compared to the national rate of 40 percent.
JASMYN helped 135 homeless youth in 2019. “We made it a strategic priority to address the needs of these young people” Watson said.
The JASMYN day center’s open house will be 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at 651 Chelsea St. in Riverside.
JASMYN supports LGBTQ young people by creating safe space, providing health and wholeness services, and offering youth development opportunities, while bringing people and resources together to promote equality and human rights.
To donate, volunteer or get more information, write to P.O. Box 2973, Jacksonville, FL 32203. You can also call (904) 389-3857 or go to jasmyn.org.