STORIES BY JANAY BROWN

The City Rescue Mission

Published: Oct. 8, 2020

There are over 400 homeless people in the downtown Jacksonville area alone. The City Rescue Mission doesn’t just provide temporary food and shelter, but also an opportunity for a second chance at life.

Downtown City Rescue Mission located at 234 W State Street. Photo by Janay Brown.

This nonprofit organization that started out as giving “soup, soap and salvation” to alcoholics has fully evolved into a privately funded organization whose job is to change and rebuild lives. 

Many of the homeless or needy have some form of addiction. Thus, the City Rescue Mission developed the Life Builders Addiction Recovery Program, which helps anyone who has suffered from abuse, addiction or any other toxic habit and transforms them into “productive, self-sufficient members of society.” 

In this program, students take part in bible studies, counseling and life skill development. They are also able to participate in higher education programs and can even earn their GED at the end of the 18-month program. 

The program has a 73% success rate, meaning 73% of students continue to be clean and sober once they leave the program. Comparitively, the national average is 27%. 

City Rescue Mission Executive Director Penny Kievet says the success rate is so high because they look at the issue mentally, physically and spiritually. They look at the root cause of the problem and eliminate the need to mask it.

The City Rescue Mission also gives opportunities for workforce development. 

“The only way out of poverty is a job,” said Kievet. 

The City Rescue Mission provides computer training and also enhances job opportunities by identifying unique skills, abilities and talents of the students. So, when they’re ready to pursue a job they are more than qualified.

After graduation, they make transitioning to independent living a priority. 

According to the City Rescue Mission, “the riskiest time to relapse is moving from a recovery program to independent living.”  

Because of this, the City Rescue Mission developed Homes of Hope. These fully furnished homes provide a “safe, drug-free, supportive community” that helps the transition to the real world go a lot smoother for a cheaper price.

Homes of Hope. Courtesy: City Rescue Mission.

The City Rescue Mission doesn’t just provide a quick fix to cope with the troubling things individuals are dealing with, but also an opportunity for a new life.

City Rescue Mission truck located at the City Rescue Mission on McDuff Avenue in Jacksonville. Photo by Janay Brown.