Sulzbacher opened its doors in December of 1995 as the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the homeless in response to the explosion of crisis homelessness that happened in the nineties both in Jacksonville and nationwide. The agency was founded by three groups, the City of Jacksonville, a group of area businesses, and the United Way of Northeast Florida. Unlike other homeless shelters, Sulzbacher was founded on the premise that homeless persons need and deserve more than just a meal and a bed to end their homelessness. Sulzbacher provides a continuum of care approach, addressing all aspects of homelessness including housing, income and health care. Over the more than two decades since the agency opened, the services have grown to include street outreach, primary health, behavioral health and dental care for all ages, permanent housing, job placement and early learning.
Sulzbacher takes its name and inspiration from a man who exhibited extraordinary civic leadership and concern for the poor, I.M. Sulzbacher. Mr. Sulzbacher was a successful insurance broker and civic leader who entered politics during the Jacksonville Consolidation era and was elected to the Jacksonville City Council in 1968. Out of his concern for people experiencing homelessness, he helped raise awareness of the problem, and convinced his fellow council members of the need for the city to help. With the support of city administrator Lex Hester, the dedication of a homeless facility on city land was included in the 1993 River City Renaissance plan. The I. M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless opened in 1995. Mr. Sulzbacher died on June 5, 2001 and his spirit of giving and his dedication to the poor lives on at Sulzbacher.
Sulzbacher provides economic empowerment through job training and employment assistance. Sulzbacher works with No More Homeless Pets in providing Vet Tech training to clients, First Coast Security in providing security training and certification, Goodwill Job Junction in employment programs, and partners with NyWes to provide Phlebotomy training and Patient Care Technician training.
Sulzbacher works across all age groups to provide educational advancement. At Sulzbacher’s Crawford Early Learning Center, pre-school children are made school-ready. Children in school receive one-on-one tutoring and the Children’s Program manager works with teachers and the Duval County Public School system to ensure students are succeeding in class. Additionally, Florida State College at Jacksonville holds GED training and testing on-site at Sulzbacher so that adults who have not gotten a high-school diploma are able to get their GED and better compete in the job market.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
As a Federally-Qualified Health Center, Sulzbacher provides primary health care, dental care, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and treatment, vision screening, and pediatric health care. Sulzbacher is the “safety net” health care provider in Duval County, and provided 30,572 clinic visits to 7,694 patients last year. And now with the HealthMobile unit, Sulzbacher is able to provide primary and behavioral health care with dignity to our homeless neighbors still living on the streets.
CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP
Our partnership with Bold City Chapter of the Links has led to great character and leadership development within the women at the Sulzbacher Village. Links members provide one-on-one mentoring to help our women not only find employment but also keep it, and develop the skills necessary to succeed and be promoted in the workplace. Through life skills training, peer support groups, and mental health counseling, Sulzbacher improves the character and leadership potential of its clients. Sulzbacher also encourages leadership in its clients through participation in its Consumer Advisory Board.