CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services, a local nonprofit organization that has served the community for over 51 years, is celebrating a recent state funding allocation of 1.2 million dollars. These funds will contribute to the agency’s building of a new youth shelter to serve youth who are experiencing homelessness, have exhibited behavioral health concerns, or have run away from home.
“We are very excited about the capital funds to build a new 20 bed Interface youth shelter in Gainesville. This is a defining moment for CDS and we are so grateful for all the support to make this a reality,” said Jim Pearce, the agency’s CEO, “We give special thanks to Senator Keith Perry for his long time support and leadership on this project. He was our champion in leading this funding effort and we are so grateful for his commitment to youth and families in need. Also, a special thanks to Representative Clemons for his longtime support and sponsorship in the House.”
A longtime fixture within the community, CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services has been providing no-cost counseling, youth shelters, and prevention services for decades and has served thousands of youth and families. The Interface youth shelter is one of the many facilities within the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services that offer temporary residential services to young people across the state.
Thomas Lane, President of the CDS Board said of the funding, “CDS has interdicted in the lives of so many North Central Florida youth during our 50+ years of service. This funding allocation assures CDS’ continued ability to offer youth – at a critical time in their development – opportunity and resources to help them become productive and contributing members of the community. I echo Mr. Pearce’s thanks to Senator Perry and Representative Clemons for their sustained efforts on our behalf.”
Stacy Gromatski, President/CEO of the Florida Network, stated, “CDS has provided a safe haven for thousands of troubled youth. This funding will allow them to provide crisis services in an environment best designed to address the individual needs of the children and youth. We are especially grateful to Senator Perry and Representative Clemons for their support, vision and commitment to protecting our struggling youth and preserving such a valuable community resource.”
The new facilities will not only offer 20 beds for youth, but will also feature a campus that will centrally locate the organization’s programs including Family Action Counseling, Independent Living, and SNAP (“Stop Now and Plan”). The new facilities will provide an inclusive and affirming place for youth who are experiencing turmoil and require respite.
“Organizations like CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services play a critical role in both the community and Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s continuum of care. With over 50 years of service to North Central Florida, countless lives have been changed as a result of their work,” said Christian Minor, Executive Director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, “This funding for a new shelter will not only allow them to continue their mission, but also serve more children who find themselves at-risk and in need of care. I’d like to thank Governor DeSantis and Senator Keith Perry for their continued advocacy and investment in Florida’s future: our children.”