Sharla Valeski delivers bags containing personal items to members of the homeless community in downtown Jacksonville. She is also fundraising to give them portable tents. "It's a way to say, 'I see you and I care,'" she said.

As an artist, Sharla Valeski is keen about aesthetics and making people cozy in their surroundings.

Soon after looking at homeless encampments in downtown Jacksonville, she had an idea to not only boost how they look but enhance the quality of lifestyle for their occupants. She was previously amassing toiletries and other essentials to give to homeless gentlemen and women but a short while ago started off a fundraising generate to obtain them “pop-up” transportable tents as effectively.

The tents would swap existing kinds produced of cardboard and other assorted products that are no match for the elements.

“I’m not capable to solve homelessness, but I’d like to appear up with strategies to give them comfort,” she mentioned.

Valeski, a visual artist for 30 decades, owns The Future Gallery on Laura Avenue downtown and Black Sparrow Houses, which buys and fixes up residential residences and manages rental properties. Before starting off her commercial enterprises, she worked in the nonprofit area for about 10 years, including with homeless purchasers at Gateway Neighborhood Companies.

“The method brought homeless addicts off the streets and into cure using the triage of restoration to assistance them,” she explained. “I formulated art remedy assignments for all the purchasers … and labored specifically with these clients.”

Sharla Valeski prepares to deliver bags containing personal items to the homeless in downtown Jacksonville. She is also raising money to buy them portable tents.

After 5 many years, she was burned out on the task.

“We located that when clients shared their trauma stories with us, we had been currently being traumatized also,” she said. “I had to depart, for my possess psychological wellness. I’ve experienced above 15 years to consider about my encounters at Gateway and sense I have the suitable schooling, everyday living practical experience and empathy for interacting properly with most of the homeless population whilst recognizing the ones who could be unsafe.”