Broward County Transit takes compassionate approach in solution to homelessness

May 9, 2024
BCT's Project Homeless Connect works to help those experiencing homelessness and improve safety and security at bus stops and shelters.

Broward County Transit (BCT) is addressing the community concerns with homelessness with a comprehensive and compassionate approach. The agency has recognized the need for both supporting individuals experiencing shelterlessness and ensuring passenger safety, as it has partnered with various agencies to launch Project Homeless Connect.

"At BCT, we are committed to both supporting our riders and fostering a safe and secure environment," said Coree Cuff Lonergan, CEO and general manager of BCT. "Project Homeless Connect exemplifies this commitment through collaboration with Broward County agencies, law enforcement and community organizations."

In November 2023, BCT partnered with the Broward County Human Services Division of Housing Options, Solutions and Support (HOSS-D) team and community partners to begin to address the issues of unsheltered people at bus terminals, bus stops and on certain routes. A dedicated team of street outreach workers that includes a licensed clinical practitioner began engaging, assessing and providing shelter and housing referrals to the people served in this pilot. 

Since its inception, more than 324 shelterless individuals have been identified that frequent the public transportation system and through this collaborative effort, essential services, including shelter placements, case management, mental health resources and legal assistance have been provided.

Project Homeless Connect at the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Terminal has been a success since launching on Feb. 20, 2024, and has yielded positive results:

  • 19 individuals sheltered
  • 20 individuals connected with addiction recovery services at the Broward Addiction Recovery 
  • One person received medical care
  • Another individual was reunited with their family

Beyond these direct interventions, the project also improved the environment at the transit center as the individual’s belongings were humanly cared for and stored and the entire terminal was freshened-up through deep cleaning, new lighting and other customer amenities. 

“We view this initial effort as a huge success,” Lonergan said. “We will continue to monitor activities at our Broward Central Terminal location and provide similar services as necessary with our shelterless support partners.”

During the next few months, BCT, along with their homeless outreach partners, will expand its outreach efforts to additional locations, including the Northeast Transit Center in Pompano Beach, the Lauderhill Transit Center in Lauderhill and the West Terminal in Plantation, Fla.