Atlantic Cares supports Sulzbacher Center
Written By
Admin
October 5, 2023

Atlantic Cares supports Sulzbacher Center

Cindy Funkhouser first got involved with outreach work in 1992, living through the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida when 175,000 people became homeless overnight. It was the lightbulb moment she needed to transition from for-profit sales and marketing to a career working with homeless people. After getting a master’s degree in social work at Florida State University, she interned at the Sulzbacher Center, an agency dedicated to ending homelessness in the Jacksonville area.  

Now, Funkhouser serves as the Sulzbacher Center’s CEO.

Funkhouser works with a staff of 200 to serve homeless people “more than just a meal and a bed to end their homelessness,” according to the company’s website. Sulzbacher provides a continuum of care approach, addressing all aspects of homelessness, including housing, income and health care.

“It’s a critical time right now because we’re seeing an uptick in the amount of people becoming homeless and the people who need our services,” she said. “At the same time, donations are down and costs are up … it’s not a good combination.”

The Sulzbacher Center provides about 450,000 meals a year, she said, and never shuts down. But food costs are going up, and food banks aren’t getting the donations they used to. The Center is a recipient of the Atlantic Cares program donation given monthly by Atlantic Logistics -- which will likely be put toward meals.

In addition to the meals, the Sulzbacher Center put 487 people into permanent housing last year, 417 people into employment, and sponsored about 23,600 visits to health clinics.

"We believe in Cindy's vision and mission for Sulzbacher. Anytime we can lend a hand, we pleased to do so," said Atlantic Logistics CMO James Crichlow. " Atlantic Cares was created to support efforts like this, especially those local organizations that have a calling for Northeast Florida."

In 2019, a widely cited report from brokerage firm Charles Schwab found that 59% of Americans were just a paycheck away from homelessness. People don’t like to admit it, but most families are closer to homelessness than any dream of being wealthy.

These numbers have only grown with the wealth gap since the beginning of the pandemic. About 71% of the Jacksonville-area people surveyed in an annual homeless count in January were experiencing homelessness for the first time.

The affordable housing crisis is particularly strong in Jacksonville, Funkhouser said, and the subsidized housing wait list has 147,000 people on it.

“That’s about 15% of the population of Jacksonville that’s on the waitlist,” she said. “That’s insane. It’s really challenging all the way around. The support we get from the community is critical.”

One large project the Center launched this year is a social service bus called “Housing and Hope on Wheels,” which brings services to the people where they are. They also launched a health mobile a few years ago to bring healthcare services to different homeless populations where they are living.

“During the pandemic, a lot of homeless people who were in the core of downtown started dispersing throughout the entire county,” she said. “People are in pockets everywhere, so we’ve got to be able to get the services to them.”

Looking to next year, the Sulzbacher Center is fundraising to build a second campus in Jacksonville’s northside on a 17-acre plot, complete with 100 affordable housing apartments. Eventually, the Sulzbacher Center would like to move its headquarters out of downtown Jacksonville to the new site and expand healthcare services, job training and even manufacturing jobs.

The Sulzbach Center is always looking for volunteers, particularly in the kitchens, Funkhouser said. There’s also a large fundraiser held on Oct. 19, that companies can sponsor and individuals can buy items on a silent auction.

“We encourage people to come and find out about what we’re doing and the impact services we provide,” Funkhouser said. “There are several ways to be useful.”

Click here for more information about the Sulzbacher Center. Emergency housing for men is available at the Sulzbacher Downtown Campus, 611 E. Adams St., and emergency housing for women and families with children is available at Sulzbacher Village, 5455 Springfield Blvd.

Donations can be made online or at the Sulzbacher Center’s 2023 Transformations annual fundraiser, Oct. 19.

ABOUT ATLANTIC LOGISTICS

Atlantic Logistics provides expedited truckload and partial service on flatbeds, stepdecks, lowbeds, vans, and reefers throughout the United States and Canada. Moving over-dimensional/over-weight freight with specialized equipment, Atlantic Logistics is an approved Department of Defense and General Services Administration broker, qualify as a woman-owned business, and are members of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA), and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA).

     
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