MIDDLEBURG, Fla — Thousands of people are at risk of becoming homeless and many of those with unstable housing are children. In Clay County, a nonprofit is making big moves to get those who need help onto their feet.
The nonprofit Mercy Support Services is building apartments in Middleburg specifically for people they are working with who do not have stable housing.
"We don't give handouts we give a hand up," said Bob Cowie with the organization.
Cowie says they're hoping to break ground in the spring on Mercy Village, their 65-unit apartment complex on College Drive that's modeled after Sulzbacher Village in Jacksonville. The goal is to get adults, families and 18-year-old high schoolers with unstable housing to self-sufficiency.
"Three identical buildings will each have 21 apartments," Cowie said. "The building on the end will be for our students."
Cowie says more than 90 percent of the people they help are women, mostly single mothers. He says for one mother of two who was about to move into her car, Mercy Support Services helped her get back to school, find daycare for her kids and rent a townhome from them. He says she is now a registered nurse.
Cowie shared another success story from when he and their CEO ran into a man the organization had helped.
"The young man said, 'What I'm really most proud of is, do you remember my little girl? She's now in college,' Cowie said. "So that's the kind of story that really gets to my heart because I know what we're being successful and we're changing people's lives, generational lives."
He says they are about $200,000 away from being able to break ground. See how you can get involved here.