Project Homeless Connect provides services to 1,300 at day-long event

Jul 16, 2014
Courtesy of: William Wright Michelle Miller of the Northwest Justice Project offers free legal advice to Pat, an army veteran and participant in this year's Project Homeless Connect.

Pat, an army veteran who made her way to Evergreen Middle School Thursday, July 10, found a haircut, a referral to a dentist, a backpack full of toiletries, information on housing resources and free legal advice.

She was just one of about 1,300 residents who were served by the sixth annual Project Homeless Connect in Snohomish County – a one-day event providing free direct services to families and individuals experiencing homelessness.

"I was amazed at how many services were under one roof," said Pat, who declined to give her last name.

A total of 82 veterans were served at the event, including a 24 year-old medic who served in Afghanistan and a 74 year-old who served in Vietnam.

The 2014 Homeless Point in Time count in Snohomish County showed 1,272 residents in 992 households without a permanent place to stay. Of those counted this year, an estimated 314 (26 percent) were homeless children under the age of 18; 71 were homeless veterans.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, who has been a long-time supporter of Project Homeless Connect, kicked off the event.

A total of 258 staff from 84 programs and 268 volunteers made this event possible. Of the attendees, 256 received haircuts, 243 received a vision screening, 151 dogs and cats were examined, 139 received foot care and 80 received dental services.

Everett Gospel Mission organized the meal service this year, and 1,158 meals were served. Guests had a choice between lemonade or iced tea, soup or salad, and chicken or sausage with pasta, plus vegetables on the side.

One of the hallmarks of Project Homeless Connect is that volunteers provide table service to participants.

Residents also had the option of receiving a backpack with toiletries, a new pair of sneakers, a family portrait, vision care, immunizations and more. There was also child care available on-site.

Mark, who also didn’t give a last name, had his hair cut and received a new pair of glasses, sneakers and a backpack with toiletries. He said he was very thankful.

"This really means a lot. I'm just a regular guy," he said. "I've been sober 36 years. This helps."

Project Homeless Connect can be found online at www.uwsc.org/phcsnoco.php.

Founded in Everett in 2009, Project Homeless Connect builds on a national model to deliver immediate services and to improve long-term access to services.

The event is a collaboration between the Snohomish County Human Services Department, United Way of Snohomish County, the Snohomish Health District, the city of Everett, multiple nonprofits, volunteers and the Homeless Policy Task Force.

The lead agency of the event has shifted over the years from Housing Hope, Cocoon House, Snohomish County Health and Human Services, and now, to United Way of Snohomish County.

-Edited by Beacon staff

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