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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Not much is in the pantry at the St. Francis House in St. Augustine.

Many of the shelves are bare.

Renee Morris runs the House, which is the only emergency homeless shelter in St. Johns County.

Not only have donations slowed down, Morris recently learned the shelter is not receiving its state funding this year.

Last year, the shelter received the DCF's Emergency Shelter grant in the amount of $59,000.

This year, due to expansion of services and clients, the St. Francis House applied for $100,000 worth of grant money.

The shelter was denied.

In the past, that money has provided men, women, and children food, bedding, and bedding, and help with getting back on their feet.

Randy Caiola lost his job and found himself on the streets.

He found the St. Francis House and is now part of the transitional housing program there. He found some work and has now been sober for 30 days.

"A doctor at the hospital prescribed medication that I was allowed to take here under [St. Francis'] supervision in order to detox. It's hard to get into places because the lists are so long," Caiola said.

To continue helping people like Caiola, Morris was forced to cut her nine-person staff.

"I had to let one major person go and cut everybody's hours," Morris sighed.

The St. Francis House had to find ways to pinch pennies. The latest idea is to use an old fashioned clothes line to help do the laundry.

"Because it's costly to run the dryer," Morris explained.

She said without the grant money, the homeless are more likely not to get critical emergency services they need in St. Johns County.

She says other fine agencies in the county received the emergency shelter funding, but that the St. Francis House is truly the only emergency shelter for women, and children, and men.

Morris said there is another emergency shelter in St. Johns County, but it is for battered women and children.

Caiola teared-up talking about the shelter, "I'm just grateful this place is here."

For Morris, it won't be easy keeping this place going.

"We need help. We do need help," Morris said.

On Wednesday morning, a little bit of relief came from a good-hearted young man.

Priyam Patel, 15, attends St. Augustine High School. He felt compelled to help the St. Francis House, so he and some friends bagged groceries for tips at a Winn-Dixie store. They raised more than $700. On Wednesday, Patel dropped off the checks to Morris.

She gave him a big hug and said "if more people were compassionate like this young man, I think we'd have a better world."

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