JACKSONVILLE, Fla — He’s turning a neighborhood with a bad reputation into a place of opportunity. The Moncrief area of Jacksonville has a high crime rate and high poverty rate. Our 12 Who Care winner was nominated for his work and his vision for the neighborhood and providing resources they didn’t have before.
In a part of Jacksonville that is easily forgotten, Marcus Harden-Givens is taking notice.
He and his husband are the founders of Overflow Health Alliance, Inc.
“Overflow is good for the people round here," said Lenora Pope, who receives help from the center. "They help you get what you need.”
“It's an overflow of resources. It’s an overflow of love," Harden-Givens describes.
The clinic, cafe and office space take up a block on Moncrief Road. Harden-Givens looks at the Moncrief area and sees opportunity.
“They needed some young people to come in and be the voice of this community," he said.
Harden-Givens and his husband Joshua were those people.
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“Marcus would go around to the community, and basically say 'Hey, what do you guys need here? How can we help you?'" said Stephanie Burk, the Executive Director of Overflow.
Overflow Alliance began as an HIV clinic. Then it grew to primary care for all ages. Now, the clinic offers COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
“When we come in contact with a community member who we know we can provide assistance to," Harden-Givens says, "that need our services, and we can provide those services in an immaculate way to make sure they’re okay, to make sure their families are okay, to make sure that their friends are okay, that is the fire behind what keeps us going. We’ll continue to do that.”
He calls patients “members,” like they’re members of an exclusive club or simply community members where they have each other’s backs.
Overflow started as an idea many years ago. About two years ago, Harden-Givens started working on it.
“We couldn’t afford to start in the building," he said. That didn't stop him.
"We had to start on our feet. We did 3 hours every day. We would come and walk in the community and find out their names," he explains. "Who are you? What do you need?”
Two years later, people know him by name and he knows their needs.
“It’s awesome and I thank him for it," Pope said.
You can find out more about Overflow Health Alliance, Inc here.