Okaloosa Walton County Homeless Continuum of Care Opportunity housing assistance programs.

Housing, information on rental assistance, and shelters from the Okaloosa Walton Homeless Continuum of Care Opportunity are for the very low income and homeless. The non-profit organization works with many other groups in the region to help stop homelessness from occurring. While the financial support, mostly from the federal government emergency solutions grant program is limited, the agency does offer other aid.

A shelter known as Opportunity Place is available. This is for families, children, and even single mothers or parents. The center is Located in Fort Walton Beach Florida, however it is for people in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. It is also run in partnership with the Department of Children and Families.

Another option, Shelter House, is for victims of domestic violence, whether women or children.  It offers them a safe place to stay and other support, such as information on legal aid.

Transitional housing apartments from Okaloosa Walton Homeless Continuum of Care Opportunity is known as Fresh Start. It is operated as an independent not-for-profit agency. It offers short term, safe, and affordable housing for those facing eviction. There is also help for homeless families and children from Fresh Start.

The transitional system will last for up to 9 months and is for those that are committed to self-sufficiency and long term stability. All clients need to be committed to gaining stability, employment, and addressing other needs. Fresh Start will also clients a fully supervised environment combining education, intake assessment, service/case plan, financial counseling, positive reinforcement and goal planning.

Staff from Homeless Continuum of Care provide clients access to ongoing guidance. This is what is known as a full continuum of care, and it ranges from outreach and intake services to job placement into permanent housing. Clients can learn about programs to pay security deposits or other forms of rent on a new home. Some people will be issued loans or other forms of monetary compensation. Other advice will encourage ongoing, steady employment. The case managers at Fresh Start are also committed to helping not only low income and formerly residents but anyone who need advice.




The program provides those seeking help with intake. Based on that, there will be assessment, financial counseling, educational programs created, service/case plan, and goal planning. The case managers provide clients with a full continuum of care from intake services to outreach. There is also placement in permanent housing or information on rental programs. Also, Continuum of Care Opportunity encourages steady employment in Florida. Anyone that is struggling can use these outreach services, not just the homeless.

While the Florida weather doesn’t get too cold, there are emergency shelters for when this occurs. The Fort Walton Beach Cold Weather Program is operated in partnership with local churches, including the following. Mary Esther United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian of Fort Walton Beach, Gregg Chapel AME, St. Simon's on the Sound Episcopal, Seventh Day Adventist of Fort Walton Beach, and also First Christian Church.

There is also another shelter system in place that is operated by Crestview. Those partner churches include Emmanuel Baptist as well as Life Point Church, which is located at 400 S. Ferdon. Other partners include Community of Christ, First United Methodist, and others.

The Walton County Florida shelter program is available at the Cold Weather Civic Center in DeFuniak Springs. The phone number for this location is (850) 951-3788.

The homeless can also turn to Soup Kitchens for their basic needs. Not only can they get a free meals, but case management services will help them address the crisis as well. Clients can learn about where to turn to for shelter or emergency help. The locations are.

  • Central Baptist, 951 S. Ferdon (Hwy 85), dial 682-5525
  • Our Savior Lutheran Church, 178 North Ave., telephone number is 682-3154
  • First Assembly is located at 400 S. Ferdon, call 682-3518
  • Shady Grove in Baker 537 - 9611
  • Community Luncheon, 603 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, dial 682 - 1292
  • Community of Christ, 398 W. First Ave. Behind Whitehurst/Powell, 682-7474
  • First Presbyterian, 492 Ferdon Blvd. N (Hwy 85 and 90), main phone 682-2835
  • First United Methodist, 499 McLaughlin, dial 682-2018




Family Life Ministries of Northwest Florida is a key partner. They operate the Pregnancy Crisis Shelter. It offers counseling as well as a safe place to stay. It will assist both expecting mothers as well as  women in homeless situations, as well as single moms.

The location of this main center is 305 Lovejoy Road, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548, telephone (850) 409-3070.


By Jon McNamara

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