BOCC provides one-year extension for GRACE program 

Alachua County Admin Building
The Alachua County Administration Building in Gainesville.
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to fund two shortfalls, totaling $500,000, in GRACE Marketplace’s budget for next year, filling a gap left by the city of Gainesville.  

Because of Gainesville’s budget constraints, GRACE Marketplace lacked $150,000 for its emergency shelter and $350,000 for its street outreach team. The shelter would have continued next year without the full funding but reduced the bed county by 10. The outreach team, however, would have ended in November without the funding.  

The BOCC and Gainesville City Commission discussed the item last week at its joint meeting, and the BOCC decided to fund the $150,000. But the county waited until Tuesday to decide on the $350,000 portion for the outreach team, considering taking over the team itself. 

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The motion for the outreach team gives GRACE one-time funding to keep the program for another year, and in that year, the BOCC plans to meet with the city and GRACE to create a plan for a county-wide outreach program.  

The motion directs county staff to return with a plan for that program, and Tommy Crosby, assistant county manager, said that new program will enter the county’s budget like any other and elbow for funding.  

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut was the lone dissent on the motion.  

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Gainesville Dad

$150,000 for 10 extra beds does not seem like an efficient use of taxpayer money. $1,250 per homeless person per month for what exactly?

So why not take the $350,000 set aside for the “street team” and fund 23 more beds then? I see homeless criminals and drug addicts around our once-beautiful city all day long, but I’ve never seen a member of this elusive street team anywhere. How many members are there?

GRACE itself has 60+ employees. Even if they averaged the new minimum wage of $12/hr, that’s $1.5 million dollars per year.