End homelessness for families and women in Okaloosa and Walton County

Core Goals

  1. Provide a safe, supportive environment where clients’ basic needs are met and where they have the space and time to tackle their unique challenges.
  2. Empower residents to secure permanent housing and build up sufficient financial resources to maintain that housing independently after exiting shelter.

2025 Vision for OPI

In order to end homelessness in our community we need to break the cycle of homelessness before its starts, reduce the trauma of homelessness, and provide stabilization support so that one episode of homelessness does not lead to a multi-generational cycle of instability and trauma. To achieve this mission, OPI is working to achieve the following by 2025:

  • Core Programming: We have expanded our programming to stop the cycle of homelessness before it starts and to fully stabilize families after they exit shelter.
    • Prevention: We are the primary access point for families with a dedicated staff member for diversion + prevention.
    • Shelter:Continue to provide low barrier shelter for families.
    • Rapid Rehousing: We have resources and staff to get families back into housing as quickly as possible.
    • Stabilization: We offer case-management services for 3months-1 year after a client is housed to prevent homelessness from re-occurring.
    • Education: We offer classes in tenet education, life-skills, and parenting to support re-housing and stabilization.
  • Operational Concepts: We have fully embraced the Housing First Model and Trauma Informed Care  
    • Housing First: We are low barrier with simplified rules that give client’s autonomy and choice in how they access services.
    • Trauma Informed Care: All staff trained and practicing trauma informed care. We understand the impact of trauma (and toxic stress) on the brain, can recognize trauma responses, respond to trauma responses in healthy ways, and take steps to minimimize re-traumatization during a client’s stay at shelter.
    • Self Care: We have a culture of self care that enables staff to maintain the energy and compassion they need to serve our clients with excellence.
  • Facilities: We have new and/or updated facilities based on trauma informed design. These facilities honor the dignity of every person walking through our shelter + create a supportive space for staff to do the hard work of helping families rebuild. See here for the the latest on trauma-informed design and how it contribute to healing and stabilization.
  • Organizational Effectiveness: We are utilizing the most up to date processes and technologies to do our jobs as efficiently and pro-actively as possible.

2021 Annual Goals

Core Mission

  1. Rehouse 30 household this year (stretch goal:35)
  2. Develop a way to assess our effectiveness at creating a safe, supportive environment. Assess our baseline, identify areas we can improve, and improve.

Expanded Programing:

3. Secure funding to maintain our screening and eligibility specialist permanently. We received COVID funding (Stretch goal to grow that position from 20 hours to 40 hours so that we can engage in prevention + diversion work with those on our waitlist).

4. Develop a skeletal structure for stabilization programming and offer stabilization case management for our most at risk clients.

5. Launch at least one community partnership to offer educational classes monthly.

Operational Concepts

  • #2 above supports further integration and growth of Opportunity Place as a trauma informed care organization.
  • #3 and #4 required for full implementation of housing first program.

6. Be in a financial position to offer health care to Opportunity Place staff so that their physical and emotional health is supported as they care for our clients and the shelter.


7. Open the First Steps Empowerment Center, fully furnished and ready to serve clients and the community.

Organizational Effectiveness

8. Develop a healthy, engaging, volunteer program that can help us meet client needs more quickly.

  • Baseline Goal: By June 2021, have shelter support volunteers for 25% of shifts so that there are two people are available to help with the basics of shelter operations. (Stetch goal: 50% by October)

9. Develop and implement a transparent system for prioritizing tasks across team members and shelter shifts so that we can meet client needs and get them housed as efficiently as possible.

10. Refine online processes and digital systems and secure funding for IT support.