Escambia County Program Will Provide Bus Or Plane Tickets To Get Homeless Out

February 12, 2024

Escambia County has launched a new program to offer free transportation assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness who are seeking to reunite with their family, friends, or other support networks.

“Real Change Project Reconnect” is a completely voluntary program that aims to reduce homelessness in Escambia County, while offering resources to those wanting to travel to locations where they have a better support system to help them get back on their feet.

Through the program, eligible individuals and families will be provided with a bus or plane ticket to their chosen destination, provided they can demonstrate that family, a job, or support network is in place for them.

The Real Change Project Reconnect program is already seeing early success, helping two brothers who were experiencing homelessness and living on the streets of downtown Pensacola for several months. The Pensacola Police Department’s Community Outreach Division was able to connect the brothers with Project Reconnect, which gave them free bus tickets to be reunited with their father in Alabama, where they had housing, family support, and potential job opportunities waiting for them. Although the brothers had previously been offered assistance, they did not express an interest in accepting help until they heard about Real Change Project Reconnect and the opportunity it provided them to reconnect with family support.

he following individuals and families may be eligible for Real Change Project Reconnect:

  • Individuals and families seeking family reunification and housing with their family or other support system.
  • Individuals and families who have identified employment and need only short-term social service support to facilitate their transition to the arrival community.
  • Individuals and families who have affordable permanent housing or other shelter options awaiting them in a community where they have family or social supports.
  • Escambia County is working with community partners to facilitate the program, which includes an application and screening process to help ensure the travel assistance is provided to individuals who will benefit the most from the program. During the application process, travel options will be evaluated and coordinated with applicants to determine whether bus or plane tickets are the most economical option for their destination.

This program is just one part of Escambia County’s ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness in the community, and the county is continuing to work with community partners to strategize additional solutions for those experiencing homelessness.

In order to help assess the level of interest in the program, a new question was added to the annual Point in Time Count and Survey in Escambia County, which took place in January 2024. The new survey question asked participants whether they would be interested in transportation assistance for family reunification and/or support.

Of the participants who answered the relocation question, approximately 30% indicated that they are interested in transportation assistance. Data from the surveys will help Escambia County connect with those individuals who have expressed an interest in participating in the program.

For more information about Project Reconnect and other Escambia County Real Change programs and resources, visit MyEscambia.com/realchange or email homelessness@myescambia.com.

Limited funding available. Program participation is subject to funding availability and eligibility requirements. Completing an application does not guarantee transportation assistance.

Comments

11 Responses to “Escambia County Program Will Provide Bus Or Plane Tickets To Get Homeless Out”

  1. SueB on February 14th, 2024 9:48 am

    If I needed a ride would the county commissioners help me? This is our tax money paying for these free rides. If the family members wanted to see them or help them they would have already done so. The family members probably don’t want them around.
    You would be surprised how many of the “homeless” people have government checks being sent to a PO Box.

  2. Concerned on February 14th, 2024 6:41 am

    A lot of people have no where to go.what happen to the millions of dollars to help them fix a place to live.pensacola wants to be the beautiful high cost of living but yet it’s full of crime an drugs.all this county wants is to build houses an do away with farm land an more traffic.why do people want New York city built here.

  3. Bob on February 14th, 2024 5:31 am

    Just because you are hiding a problem somewhere else doesn’t mean that the problem is solved.

    Are y’all going to just as excited when other cities decide to start flying/bussing their homeless here instead of actually addressing homelessness?

  4. Alicia on February 13th, 2024 10:00 pm

    A wonderful opportunity for a homeless individual to also demostrate the effort and initiative to better themselves bridging a gap to the family and community that awaits. Giving these people these options are opening doors verses closing them.. Great program!

  5. Dimitri on February 13th, 2024 2:13 pm

    Don’t be fooled. The city and county just want to get rid of the homeless and send them elsewhere to be someone’s problem. All the luxury apartments sprouting up around Pensacola tells you all you need to know about how this county, city, and state prioritizes the homeless problem and exorbitant cost of housing. With that being said, there are some who don’t want to have any responsibility and prefer to live that way. I believe they should be forced into rehab and into some type of housing. If this nation can afford to send billions to Israel and Ukraine, it should have the resources to solve this problem. But this nation stopped prioritizing what should be prioritized a long time ago. It’s all about business and the bottom line.

  6. Charles on February 12th, 2024 3:44 pm

    This is a start, hoping there will be more programs like this. Ī

  7. Pamela on February 12th, 2024 2:06 pm

    I am glad to see that a program has started. Thru my years I could never afford any ticket to get back home. This is a very hard area to get into an out of over the years average was 1800.00 ticket only during the pandemic did it ever get below $300.00. one reason I get so mad at employer and recruiters trying to hire outside of their place of business that is over 150 miles away. I have seen Contractors higher from west coast and the at least he same time the west coast contractors are higher from the east coast . I get recruited all the time for Ohio or DC but while I lived in DC area would never higher!! I do not recommend anyone to live or work where they do not have family but employers keep on insisting with their recruiters!

  8. Amber Shingler on February 12th, 2024 1:28 pm

    Sounds amazing!!

  9. EMD on February 12th, 2024 12:48 pm

    So nice something different is being tried. Hoping it is very successful for all involved. Bravo!

  10. tg on February 12th, 2024 11:07 am

    They get to go farther south for the winter.

  11. Local on February 12th, 2024 9:47 am

    This sounds like a great program. I hope it helps many.





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