Jessica Evans recalls a time in her life when other than the roof over her head, she was essentially living like a person experiencing homelessness. At times in her young-adult life, she was without electricity or often didn’t know where her next meal would come from. 

Evans has relied on food stamps and other services to survive- things that a lot of people she now serves need.  

“I have been in situations where I could have been kicked out if it weren’t for the help I was given,” Jessica said. 

Now, Jessica is happy to be working in a position that allows her to be the one giving help. Coming from a place where people did not necessarily receive the help they needed, Jessica is striving to be that person as CAP’s Street Outreach Advocate in Birmingham’s City Center. 

When she first heard the job description, the thought brought tears to her eyes. She spent years longing to have a job where she could serve a greater purpose.  

“I have always had the desire to help people,” Jessica said, “and I hope I have the patience, resources and kindness to be the best outreach person I can be. It’s hard to talk through something that you have not been through, so I can meet them eye to eye and gain their trust.” 

On an average day, Evans spends a few hours on the streets talking with people. Whether she is talking to someone experiencing homelessness or Birmingham’s mayor, Jessica greets each person with the same enthusiasm and kindness. 

“When I talk to people, I tell them I do not know magic. I can’t make anything happen overnight, but if you give me a chance and show me that you are serious, I am going to do everything in my power to get you to the next step of leaving homelessness,” Jessica said.  

Jessica’s cheerful personality invites those she helps to be open with her as she spends time getting to know them. She talks to five or six “regulars” daily and has touched base with as many as 20 people on a day when Birmingham opened a warming station. Some need or want only an immediate service such as a pair of pants or a snack. Some she may never see again; others she is forming long term relationships with.  

“My goal is to let these people know that anything I can do I will.” 

As Jessica begins to discuss specific cases, her grin grows to a contagious smile that reflects the joy she finds in her work.  

Most shelters are designed to house women and children or men – not all three together. For months, a husband, wife and son in Birmingham remained homeless, not wanting their family to be separated. Jessica was able to find one shelter for the wife and child and another within walking distance for the husband. Jessica then helped the family apply for more permanent housing so they will soon be able to live together again. 

“You learn the people that you are going to be on a journey with or the people that need immediate service,” Jessica said. “My goal is to let these people know that anything I can do I will. 

“Sometimes it is just being able to sit there and listen. They may have a plan, but they have 50 things running around in their head such as, it’s freezing outside, where am I going to sleep, what am I going to eat, I’m in pain, I can’t get to the doctor – it’s mind-boggling.” 

Since she started at CAP in early January, Jessica has already made contact with hundreds of people experiencing homelessness. Back in the CAP office, she keeps important forms she is working on pinned to the wall above her desk as both a reminder to herself and as encouragement to those she is helping. 

“I am working on different requests for all of these people that include applications to shelters, medicine, housing, Work Your Way Home and accommodations for those with disabilities,” Jessica said.  

But Jessica doesn’t mind the paperwork, because she knows how much people will benefit – just as she once did. 

“I want to be that person people say gave them a chance,” Jessica said. “There were several people who did that for me in my life, and I hope these people will go out and do what I’m doing now with the chances given to them.” 

Do you know someone who needs Jessica’s help? Call CAP at 205-251-0111 or tell the person to stop by CAP’s office at 1704 5th Avenue North. Learn more about CAP at, and follow CAP on Facebook and Instagram! 

Related News

  • The Big Pitch contestants: where are they now?

    Filed Under: Big Pitch, Front Page, Small Business, Uncategorized

    If you’ve been following REV for a while, you probably remember The Big Pitch Competitions we used to hold back in the day. The Big Pitch presented by PNC was essentially our own little version of Shark Tank. And a lot of your favorite local businesses that participated in this competition now have active retail storefronts that you can go check out. Let’s start with some of our finalists that are based in the City of Birmingham and see what they’ve been up to!

    Read More

  • Downtown Birmingham's latest development is proof that small buildings can have big impacts too!

    Filed Under: Developer, Downtown Birmingham, Filling Vacant Spaces, Front Page, Potential-Proving, Uncategorized

    Have you been to Downtown Birmingham’s newest development located on 25th Street? If not, you need to head down there ASAP and check it out! This new single story development is a product of a collaboration between David Baker Architects (DBA) and Locke General Contractors, led by DBA’s very own Amanda Loper. It is intended to be a “collaborative commercial space in a catalyst development area of Birmingham.” Both DBA and Locke General Contractors will be tenants of the space, along with June Coffee Roasters, Zephyr Barber, and Last Call Baking Cooperative!

    Read More

  • The music scene in downtown Birmingham is booming!

    Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Events, Front Page, Uncategorized

    One of Birmingham’s many hidden treasures is the music scene downtown. The sheer volume of concert venues we have in downtown Birmingham is something most people aren’t even aware of – but it really is remarkable! There is truly something for everyone, whether you’re into the smaller, more intimate venues or the large-scale venues for those big name artists. Keep reading to check out some of the cool venues downtown Birmingham has to offer.

    Read More