Homelessness is a problem for most cities, and Panama City Beach certainly not exempt. According to the Homeless and Hunger Coalition of North West Florida, there were approximately 150 affected by homelessness in January 2014. Most people don’t understand all factors that can contribute to homelessness. Many people thing it is largely due to poor choices. While that is sometimes a factor, there are infinite circumstances in life that can leave someone without a home. We have spoken to hundreds of people looking for assistance over the last 2 years, and each story is different.
One common issue we see is the hope of abundant jobs in Panama City Beach. We constantly see people that have moved here to try to start over, only to have difficulty securing a job that will cover their expenses. While walking on our property at 10:00 one night, a couple on bicycles stopped me to ask for help. They had ridden for days on their bikes from Pell City, Alabama to PCB, which is about a 270 mile trip. They were both 18 years old, and had ridden down to start a new life. Unfortunately, many people like this can’t find steady work or housing, and they get stuck in an endless cycle of homelessness. Our Transitional Living Program works to alleviate some of this burden in our area.
The Transitional Living Program provides affordable housing for people needing a helping hand in the midst of a life transition. Our residents come from many different situations. Some come from drug or alcohol rehab programs. Some have lost everything in a divorce. Others may have exhausted their resources while trying to find work during the winter months. Each person’s situation is different, and we look for the best way to help. Since the cost of living in our area often prohibits people from moving forward from bad situations, we provide people with a chance to overcome that hurdle.
Residents participate in a 6-month program that is designed to help create a more stable and healthy life. Residents work through Celebrate Recovery, attend church, and set measurable goals. We work with area churches and local agencies like WeCare, Beach Care Services, and The Homeless and Hunger Coalition to connect people with necessary resources. We have approximately 30-50 residents that participate in our program annually. We engage with hundreds of others who do not qualify for our program, but still need help acquiring appropriate resources. If you would like more information about the Transitional Living Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most exciting stories to watch has been that of Danny and Brenda Nabors. Tune in next week to learn some of the extraordinary things God has done in their lives!