ESHC was formed in 1978 by a group of concerned and engaged social services agencies and downtown religious leaders. In 2000, we incorporated as a 501(c)(3) and became the designated Lead Agency for Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties.
The primary responsibility of ESHC is to perform the functions of the lead agency of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) grant. This is the largest grant that ESHC has brought to the Jacksonville community, and our leadership for this grant takes many forms. When funding is received, we provide training and foster communications between the member agencies that provide direct service to those in need.ESHC also continues to search for new grant and funding opportunities for the Coalition.
Another aspect of being a lead agency is data collection coordination. Through the Homeless Information Management System (HMIS), we take steps to ensure that Coalition data is useful and has integrity. ESHC also analyses this data to see what kinds of changes are occurring in the populations our member agencies serve. Tracking these changes allows us to ensure that services in the Jacksonville area are accurately addressing the needs of those who are homeless or living in poverty. In addition to the data we collect throughout the year, we also coordinate the annual Point In Time Count.
Another important part of ESHC's work is to build relationships with state and local government officials. Through these relationships, ESHC can create awareness about the state of homelessness and poverty in our area and generate support to end it.
During the fall of 2012, ESHC coordinated "Conversations for Education": A 6 part series of community discussions revolving around homeless students.
ESHC is also proud to partner with the National Coalition for the Homeless to bring Jacksonville the Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau. These presentations provide a platform for homeless and formally homeless individuals to tell their stories in the public.