Okaloosa Homeless: Service/Community Based Learning

Dr. Joseph Herzog
Dr. Joseph Herzog

Emerge Faculty Fellow: Dr. Joseph Herzog

Okaloosa County has a continued need to address individual and family homelessness. Various community agencies have collaborated to provide several annual events in attempts to assist this population. This proposed high impact activity will allow College of Education and Professional Studies students, whether they are majors, minors, undergraduates or graduates opportunities to critically examine this population, actively engage in community events and reflect on their experiences possibly dispelling myths by their engagement with people who are homeless.

Fall semester students will have the opportunity to be an integral part of the annual Veterans Administration (VA) Homeless Stand Down assisting workers representing a myriad of services whose purpose is to prevent and move people out of homelessness (Last year approximately 204 Veterans were served).

Spring semester students will actively participate in an event with Okaloosa “Point in Time,” an annual event where students individually survey people who are homeless collecting data for possible community grant monies.

Students may choose to participate in either Fall or Spring Semesters. Each semester’s activity will be divided into three parts: pre-event, event, and post-event.

Pre-event activities will include two meetings:

  • The first meeting will offer an orientation to event(s), discussion of student role(s) discussion of how students can assist in gathering items needed through donations and provide an opportunity for student media permission forms to be filled out and collected. A short clip and film will also be shown that depicts the human factor of homelessness. Following the clip and film students will be asked to individually reflect on what they learned and then participate in a faculty led group reflection. Discussion will follow as to culmination of project being a media document for several different audiences.
  • During the second meeting representatives from sponsoring agencies will train students on how to fill out forms, discuss various roles students can choose to be an active participant, assign roles and provide information as to what duties students will perform.


  • Students will actively assist in the event(s) sponsored in their chosen semester. 


  • Students will come to the final meeting with a completed individual reflection paper.
  • A faculty-led group discussion and a publicity piece will be completed for CEPS weekly web newsletter and emerge web home page.

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Utilized

  • Service/Community Based Learning

For more information, please contact Dr.  Joseph Herzog at jherzog@uwf.edu or (850) 474-2376.