Grace Marketplace will open an indoor dorm on Wednesday after submitting a Safety and Security policy to the city commission. The shelter will provide beds for 20 guests who are trying to transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
In order to stay at the shelter, candidates must meet one of several criteria: be employed and able to provide verification of employment, have acute or serious medical issues or be at least 75 years of age.
The marketplace, nicknamed Graceland, currently provides an outdoor Pavilion where guests can stay until the indoor dorm opens. Guests who are not invited inside will be required to stay elsewhere. And as of Tuesday afternoon, it was still undecided which individuals would be given a place in the shelter. Those who are not invited can choose to stay in tents donated to Dignity Village, a campsite outside Graceland’s gates.
Guests of the Pavilion were offered the opportunity to volunteer for several hours a week to earn a spot in the shelter. Twenty-one Pavilion guests took advantage of that offer.
Timothy, who has been a Pavilion guest for about two months, was one of them.
“I could actually care less about going into the dorm,” Timothy said. “I would rather my fiancé go into the dorm. She is unable to (work). She is disabled.”
Ferris Bates, the shelter director, said it will not accept families or children in order to protect their safety.
Grace Marketplace does background checks on overnight guests but does not restrict services based on its findings.
Graceland, which is funded largely by the city of Gainesville and Alachua County, offers two meals a day, aids in signing up for benefits, as well as mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“Our primary concern is that people have both the resources that they need and that they have some element of safety and security,” operations director Jon DeCarmine said. “That’s something that we think everybody who’s here deserves.”
Two men watch TV in the old pavilion in Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
A renovated building stands in Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The shelter added 20 beds for its homeless population.
Beds and mattresses line the inside of Grace Marketplace’s renovated building in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The dormitory will open Wednesday, October 1.
Couches and books are provided for the homeless community of Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla. The shelter will open the building Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla., will open its renovated building and bathrooms for the new dormitory Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
A sign reading “Welcome to Dignity Village” hangs near the tents outside Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
A banner in the Dignity Village tent camp reads “Occupy Gainesville.” Residents who are not invited to live in the community’s renovated building may choose to live in the camp in Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla.
Residents of Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla., live in a pavilion before the renovated dorm’s opening on October 1, 2014. Residents who are not invited to live in the building will have to leave the pavilion.
Russ Dyie, 54, reads a book in his tent Tuesday, September 29, 2014. Dyie said he came to Florida to be with his late sister and now lives in Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla.
Clothes hang from a line Tuesday, September 30, 2014, near the tents in Dignity Village. The village is part of Grace Marketplace in Gainesville, Fla.
Shelter director Ferris Bates will oversee the opening of the Grace Marketplace building in Gainesville, Fla., on October 1.