If you stay abreast of the news, you’re probably aware that finding and maintaining affordable housing has become a critical issue many Americans are currently struggling with. For a variety of reasons, the real estate market is incredibly hot, with sellers holding all the power and prices continuing to climb. The emergence of Covid-19, and the subsequent shutdowns and layoffs that occurred, put many Americans out of work or in dire financial straits.
Supply chain woes, the war in Ukraine and inflation have only made things worse for those seeking to buy or rent and many families are getting pushed out of their homes and landing in the street, without an alternative due to the lack of affordable housing. It’s an overwhelming problem in many cities, including Jacksonville.
“There is a lot of need right now,” said Cindy Funkhouser, President and CEO of The Sulzbacher Center. “We have hundreds on the waiting list for the Sulzbacher Village. We are also seeing a good-sized increase in the number of meals we’re serving. There’s a large uptick of people coming for meals and they’re not necessarily homeless people. We were doing about 1,500 meals a day on average and are now seeing a couple hundred more than that.”
Since 1995, the I.M. Sulzbacher Center has sought to help the homeless and at-risk members of our community by providing them with health, housing and income services. The end goal? Self-sufficiency and hope. It’s a mission Atlantic Logistics supports in full, which is why the company marked $2970 to the Sulzbacher Center as part of the Service 365 program, and Accounting Services Manager Darlene Batten is here for it.
“It was so encouraging, so uplifting to learn about Sulzbacher’s mission, but specifically the Sulzbacher Village. To me, seeing such dedicated service to women and families is love in action, and I’m proud that we’re supporting that mission,” said Batten.
Funkhouser said there are several things the donation might be used for, as the Center is experiencing a gap in funding.
“We’re doing the best we can with inflation and the economy being what it is, but it does tend to impact donations,” she said. “So, this donation is coming at a really good time. We’re seeing the double whammy of inflation hitting and the government’s Covid-19 money drying up. Private donors are less likely to give now.”
The housing crisis is Funkhouser’s biggest issue currently.
The center simply cannot handle the volume of people needing a safe place to stay.
“The real estate market has gone completely insane, even the rental market…,” Funkhouser said. “People are getting booted out of their rental units because landlords are raising rates significantly and there’s just nothing affordable available, especially when it comes to studios and one-bedroom apartments. That is creating a wave of homelessness that will soon be a tsunami.