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Essay: Helping homeless population with one-stop services – Democrat & Chronicle

Essay: Helping homeless population with one-stop services

by: Kathryn Bryan

One thing we all enjoy is the opportunity to go to the mall, where everything we need is under one roof.  Without this convenience, we could spend all day driving from one location to another to complete errands.

Now imagine running your errands without a car; our errands would take days to complete.

This is the experience homeless individuals have every time a need arises.  Accessing the necessary services to move out of homelessness is critical to their success.  To many homeless individuals this is the stepping stone needed to get out of homelessness.

The Project Homeless Connect Steering Committee is committed to coordinating an annual event to bring together the necessary service providers for a day of services, a day of caring.

Project Homeless Connect allows homeless and at-risk individuals to access a plethora of services in one day.  The event, held this year on September 14 at the Blue Cross Arena, brought together service providers who offered medical, housing, employment, education and veterans’ services to the homeless.  Last year , Project Homeless Connect brought together over 75 service providers, 300 volunteers and 700 participants.  This year, we had  over 85 service providers for the 2017 Project Homeless Connect.

 During Project Homeless Connect, the energy in the arena is vibrant as participants, organizers and volunteers greet each other with dignity and respect.  A volunteer is partnered with each participant to navigate services to ensure each personreceives what is needed to become self-sufficient.  Barriers that prevent homeless individuals from accessing many necessary services are removed.

The goal of Project Homeless Connect is to provide information and a connection to essential, ongoing services  including housing, employment, government benefits, veterans’ benefits and legal services. In order to meet immediate, basic needs, the event offers lunch and provides access to medical and dental check-ups, haircuts and hygiene services.

PathStone Corporation became the lead agency for Project Homeless Connect  in 2011.  The program is a natural fit for PathStone.  PathStone is a private, not-for-profit regional community development and human service organization providing services to low-income families and individuals, farmworkers and economically depressed communities.

To learn more about Project Homeless Connect and to see a full list of participating service providers, please go to homelessconnectrochester.org.

Kathryn Bryan is Senior Vice President, Property Management, at PathStone.

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