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Sulzbacher Center to provide shelter, meals for Jacksonville's homeless during storm

With Hurricane Ian on the way, Sulzbacher Center staff plans to provide meals and shelter to anyone in need.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With storm clouds on the horizon, many on the First Coast are preparing their homes for Hurricane Ian’s impacts. But what about people without homes?

Most people who come to the Sulzbacher Center come for job assistance, however, others rely on its daily meals and other services while still living on the street. 

The Sulzbacher Center says if needed, it will act as an emergency shelter for homeless people to stay until the storm passes. Center staff say no storm will stop them from providing meals and other necessities to anyone in need. 

“I've been through ten of them,” Rodney York said. 

For 25 years, York has been living on the streets. On Monday he was found in front of the Sulzbacher Center with Michael Veto. 

Both say they will find shelter if needed. 

“I go to one of the shelters and I've never been outside in an actual storm, but I'm hoping by Wednesday me and my partner will have a place to live,” Veto said. 

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The center’s hurricane team is currently working on a plan to accommodate guests.

“Our downtown campus is where all the men stay, and then here in Brentwood is our village campus for women and families,” Sulzbacher’s Chief Development Officer Eileen Briggs said. 

Sulzbacher Center’s Chief Development Officer Eileen Briggs says the center works closely with the Red Cross. The shelter says it’s too early to know when the shelter will open its doors as an emergency shelter, but Briggs says they are ready to provide shelter, food, and other necessities as needed.  

“Typically when a hurricane comes, we see between 30 and 40 people that need to come with us that are not already living with us, and we staffed the shelter appropriately so that we're able to accommodate those extra people,” Briggs said. 

In the meantime, Veto says he will continue preparing.  

“Just getting a lot of water, stocking up on water and a lot of food and hoping for the best,” Veto said. 

The city says it also has shelter available but announced it will not be opening up evacuation centers yet. 

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