Opening Doors Northwest Florida and Escambia County collaborated to host the 2024 You-Count Homeless Connect Event today, Thursday, Jan. 25, which drew nearly 200 attendees and 60 vendors to help connect homeless individuals with valuable community resources and services.
The event took place at the Pensacola Bay Center, with vendors offering a variety of free services including haircuts, immunizations, health screenings and more. The Escambia County Tax Collector’s Office also issued more than 30 Florida IDs during the event, which are essential for individuals who are seeking jobs or taking other steps toward becoming self-sufficient.
“The goal today was to build collaboration with service providers so that we can connect the people who are needing the services to coordinated services,” said Serene Keiek, Interim Executive Director for Opening Doors Northwest Florida. “When you have a one-stop event like this that connects someone with 60 services in one place, it’s truly invaluable in helping that individual build relationships, build resources and build connections.”
In an effort to make the You-Count Homeless Connect Event accessible to all, Escambia County Area Transit provided free transportation to and from the event. Additional vendors included Escambia County EMS and CORE Program, Florida Department of Health, Community Health Northwest Florida, Health and Hope Clinic, CareerSource EscaRosa, Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola, Ministry Village at Olive, Waterfront Rescue Mission, and many more.
“Escambia County is so appreciative of our partnership with Opening Doors Northwest Florida and all of our community partners who participated in this great event to benefit our homeless community,” Escambia County Emergency Manager Travis Tompkins said. “Events like this demonstrate what a strong network of service providers, nonprofits and faith-based organizations we have right here in Escambia County who serve our community every day. We are proud to work with so many generous individuals and organizations that are ready and willing to lend a helping hand wherever they’re needed.”
In addition to connecting homeless individuals with community resources, the You-Count event also contributed to the annual Point-In-Time Count, which is a nationwide count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. Data for the PIT count is submitted each year to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.
This event was an Escambia County Real Change event, which aims to help connect the community with resources and assistance. For more information about Escambia County Real Change, visitMyEscambia.com/realchange. To learn more about Opening Doors Northwest Florida, visit openingdoorsnwfl.org.
Additional vendors that participated in the Jan. 25 You-Count event include:
- AHF-AIDS Healthcare Foundation
- The Arc Gateway – Pearl Nelson Center
- CareerSource Escarosa
- Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida
- Children’s Home Society of Florida (Pensacola)
- Community Action Program Committee
- Community Health Northwest Florida
- DCF: Hope Florida
- Department of Veterans Affairs; HCHV/HUD-VASH
- Epilepsy Alliance Florida
- Epps Christian Center/ Ecomfort, Inc.
- Escambia Connects
- Escambia County Area Transit
- Escambia County EMS
- Escambia County Tax Collector
- Escambia Pensacola Human Relations Commission
- Excess Telecom
- FavorHouse of Northwest Florida
- Fearless Community Inc.
- Florida Department of Health in Escambia County
- Fellows Foundation
- Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health
- Florida Blue
- Goodwill of Gulf Coast
- Gulf Coast Adoptions
- Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program
- Health and Hope Clinic
- HEART Program
- Legal Services of North Florida
- LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services
- Lutheran Services Florida
- Ministry Village at Olive
- NAMI Pensacola
- Next Step Distribution
- Opening Doors Northwest Florida
- Panhandle Warrior Partnership
- Pensacola Dream Center/Canopy of Hope
- Pensacola State College Cosmetology and Nails
- PSC Educational Opportunity Center
- PSC Pirates CARE Student Resource Center
- PSC Veteran Student Success Center
- Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola, Inc.
- SHINE at Northwest Florida Area Agency on Aging
- Sunshine Health