Grace Marketplace Completes Homeless Census


The usual sound of birds wasn’t what woke the residents of Grace Marketplace Thursday morning.

Grace Marketplace, 2845 NE 39th Ave., held their annual homeless census count on Thursday that lasted from 5:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, headed by Executive Director Theresa Lowe, offered goodie bags for those who participated in the census. The bags were filled with a meal replacement shake, fruit snacks, a water bottle and other snacks, including a Rice Krispies Treat.

The coalition armed volunteers with binders filled with blank surveys in hope that the homeless would take a few minutes to answer questions about their current living situation.

The homeless census is completed every year on a specific day across the state and is called the Point-In-Time survey. Residents in both Grace Marketplace and Occupy Gainesville, a tent community across the street, were included in the census.

Lowe said there are three main reasons why the census must be done. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the coalition’s biggest funder, requires a census to take place in order for funding to be received.

Lowe said the results of the census will help open the public’s eye to homeless communities. The census also raises more awareness to potential donors in hopes of receiving additional funding to improve conditions at Grace Marketplace.

“I didn’t have what I needed when I got laid off,” said Richard Baily, 46. “So, here I am.”

Similar stories of lost jobs, familial problems and addiction are found within the people who live in and around Grace Marketplace.

About Danielle Veenstra

Danielle is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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