After The Pandemic, GRACE Marketplace Struggles To Attract Enough Volunteers

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Tajar Leath, 21, lives at Grace Marketplace, Gainesville’s shelter and center for support services for people experiencing homelessness. He sees people constantly coming to the facility for help.

“There’s people out here who just simply can’t do for themselves,” he said. “And I feel like there should be something that we can do about that because it is not getting better. It is getting worse.”

The two big issues that Grace staff face are a lack of volunteers and a struggle to find permanent housing solutions for Grace residents.

Grace Community Engagement Manager Abigail Perret-Gentil said that affordable housing is not good enough.

“It is having enough affordable housing or not having the right type of affordable housing. So some of the low income individuals still can’t afford the affordable housing that exists in Alachua County,” Gentil said.

The current number of volunteers is one third of what it was before the pandemic.

About Jillian Colombo

Jillian is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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