For years, Monica and her son had no where to go until the Sulzbacher Center gave her a new lease on life.

Monica

In 2013, Monica lost her job and her apartment forcing her and her son JoJo into the streets. From hotels to abandoned apartments, they moved from place to place until they settled into a local shelter. Their stability was short-lived after three months and then, again, they had no where to go before finally receiving a family room at the Sulzbacher Center.

“For some reason, people think if you’re homeless or in that type of situation that you should look a certain way, dress a certain way, and carry yourself a certain way,” Monica stated. “There have been quite a few times where I’ve told people that I lived in a shelter and it was hard for them to believe.”

Monica took full advantage of counseling, parenting classes, and career exploration courses while living at the Center. One day, Monica’s case manager, Latonya Moore, shared some news that would open new doors for Monica and her son.The Sulzbacher Center, in partnership with First Coast Security, was offering a security course and license at no cost to its residents. Monica leaped at the chance to get back on her feet and successfully completed the security program.

With a new job, a new home was finally within sight. She pushed herself at work and saved every dollar she could to avoid using government assistance to secure an apartment. All of her hard work definitely paid off because on December 4th, Monica and JoJo had the keys to their new home.

“Wow! It was a great feeling sticking that key in the door and realizing where I was like a year ago,” Monica said remembering her first day in the apartment. “I worked so hard so I could have a really nice place to bring my son up in. It was really important because JoJo had already been through so much and I just wanted to put him in a good, safe environment.”

Today, Monica has been with First Coast Security for well over a year and she’s looking forward to working her way up the ladder. She fondly remembers her case manager as her biggest cheerleader and she continues to visit the staff at the Center on a regular basis.”Latonya would encourage me everyday, ‘You can do it. You can do it. You can do it,’ and I began to start believing it. And I did do it.”

We can help more mothers like Monica, but not without your help. One day of comprehensive services at the Sulzbacher Center is closely equivalent to $20. Help us raise ‪#‎20kIn20Days‬ by participating in the Sulzbacher‪#‎2020Challenge‬. You can donate online at gofundme.com/2020challenge, host a fundraiser among friends, family, or coworkers, of see what the Center is all about at our upcoming event, Transformations on October 15th. Visit our website at www.sulzbachercenter.org/transformations to download a full #2020Challenge toolkit and to purchase tickets to the event. Together we can help end homelessness one person at a time.

After 24 years of struggling with addiction, one day changed the entire course of Charles’s life…

Charles Edit

For 24 years, Charles, 62, struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction that caused him to spend several years of his life incarcerated and nearly a decade on the streets. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried to get clean. He’d actually admitted himself into several rehabilitation facilities over the years, but he just couldn’t gain control over his drug and alcohol dependency.

“I gave all those programs everything I had and it just felt like the harder I would try, the harder it became for me to stick with it,” said Charles as he remembered his many years of moving from city to city, rehab to rehab, and shelter to shelter, until, he finally landed in Jacksonville.

After promising himself to never return to jail, again, in October 2014, Charles was preparing to stand before a judge to address another drug-related offense when he was offered an opportunity of a lifetime. Unbeknownst to him, his repeated encounters with the criminal justice system made him an ideal candidate for CHOP (Chronically Homeless Offender Program), a Sulzbacher Center program sponsored by Lutheran Services Florida Health Systems, LLC and the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families, designed in collaboration with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office​ to give chronically homeless repeat misdemeanor offenders a chance to break the destructive cycle. Sulzbacher Center’s Shelter Service Administrator, Brian Snow, showed up in court that day to advocate on Charles’s behalf. This #oneday would change the entire course of Charles’s life

Within no time, Charles was placed in a furnished scattered-site apartment receiving wrap-around services in his home instead of at the Center. In November 2014, Charles admitted himself into an intense rehabilitation program and with the help of his Supportive Living Coach, Susan Sulzbacher, he was finally able to beat his addiction.

“After three days of being clean, I figured I could do anything,” he said. “It feels great. Being sober is its own high. I felt trapped and I’m so happy I have my own place and can go home and place my key in the door.”

Today, Charles credits much of his success to the structure of CHOP because he feels it empowered him to use his own skills and talents to help himself after he was placed in housing instead of requiring him to be clean to receive additional assistance. He also acknowledges the impact that Susan has had in his life describing her as his inspiration and motivation to stay on the right track because of her “deep love for humanity.”

“I’m just so thankful. I think I owe it to the program and to the Center to do the best I can do and to myself. I want to make the rest of my life the best of life.”

For 20 years, we’ve transformed lives one day at a time, one person at a time. So, we know amazing things can happen in just one day. You can help more people like Charles by joining the Sulzbacher #2020Challenge and helping us raise #20kin20Days! Visit gofundme.com/2020challenge and #DonateADay for second chances.