Located south of Downtown on Eighth Street, the Crossing Outreach Ministry has been a much needed safety net for the community, but on the coin’s flip side, it has unintentionally brought “bad actors” to the area who have created safety concerns.
St. Joseph Health Department Director Debra Bradley will be the administrator of a new initiative aimed at providing additional security to the area, as well as ramping up resources for homeless individuals.
Mosaic Life Care will be financing the strategy with a grant called Community Connect Dollars.
“This program is called the Urban Mission Project,” Bradley said.
Beginning Oct. 1, the Crossing will become a full-time operation, gaining a Community Action Partnership Community Health Worker, Pivotal Point Transitional Housing support and a security officer.
“We’ve also partnered with the St. Joe Police Department to hire an off-duty police officer to help us add some identified hours that they feel are the most necessary,” Bradley said. “We’re going to be having quarterly stakeholder meetings, and we will publicize those through the media.”
A neighborhood group also is being formed, which will hold its fourth meeting at the Patee Market Health Center on July 31 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The jurisdiction of the group is still being determined but potential boundaries could run north and south between Felix Street and Mitchell Avenue, and east and west between Ninth Street and the river.
Area businesses and the homeless were not represented well at the meeting on Monday. They are invited to attend the next meeting, as well as any area homeowners.
A member of the audience suggested that things around the Crossing have gotten worse over the past year, instead of better — a thought that gained the group’s general consensus.
A separate meeting that discusses the homeless every month has occurred for sometime. The “Continuum of Care” meeting happens with multiple social welfare groups on the last Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m. and it’s hosted by the United Way.