Volunteers, donations needed for Project Homeless Connect

Jun 06, 2014

More than 1,200 Snohomish County residents of all ages experiencing homelessness are expected to attend this year's Project Homeless Connect event, set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 10 at a new location this year – Evergreen Middle School in Everett.

Backpacks and volunteers are needed to help make the event at 7621 Beverly Ln. a success.

The annual one-day event assembles upwards of 70 agencies and resource groups to provide individuals and families experiencing homelessness with a number of free, direct services.

These include access to state and federal benefits, veterans' services, medical and dental appointments, pet care, mental health support, haircuts, a hot meal and housing information.

Volunteers are needed to guide participants around the venue, help with registration, serve meals in the kitchen and provide general event support.

Register to volunteer at www.uwsc.org/phcsnoco.php by June 30.

Gently used or new backpacks and toiletries – particularly body wash, washcloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners and razors – are also needed.

Drop off items by July 7 at YWCA's Pathways for Women shelter in Lynnwood, at 6027 208th St. S.W.) or at YWCA's office in Everett, at 3301 Broadway.

Questions about volunteering should be directed toward Michelle Morris of United Way of Snohomish County at 425-374-5541 or michelle.morris@uwsc.org.

Questions about the backpack/toiletries drive should be directed toward Luanne Kunz of the YWCA at 425-258-2766 ext. 150 or lkunz@ywcaworks.org.

Project Homeless Connect builds on a national model to deliver immediate services and to improve long-term access to services.

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

Begun in Everett in 2008, Project Homeless Connect is a collaboration among the Snohomish County Human Services Department, United Way of Snohomish County, Snohomish Health District, City of Everett, multiple nonprofits, volunteers and the Homeless Policy Task Force.

For information about the event, contact Megan Farwell of United Way of Snohomish County at 425-374-5543 or phc@uwsc.org.

Project Homeless Connect is on Facebook www.facebook.com/phcsnoco, Twitter @phcsnoco and the web at www.uwsc.org/phcsnoco.php.

Through a collaborative effort between Snohomish County, city of Everett and numerous service organizations, Snohomish County has hosted a Project Homeless event annually since 2008. Over the years, the event has continued to grow and serve the homeless and those at risk of being homeless in our county.

Since the event's inception, the space has increased in capacity, the number of services offered has greatly expanded and the number of clients coming to the event has grown.

For the last three years, the event has been held at Cascade High School on Casino Road and the city of Everett transit system has given free rides to attendees. At that site, Project Homeless Connect served over 1,000 clients each year.

This event brings together hundreds of providers and community volunteers, all of whom donate their time and services to provide clients with access to necessary resources. Everyone who attends that day is given a hot meal served by volunteers and is free to access any services they might need.

Some of the most popular services have been dental appointments, vision checks, pet care, backpack and toiletry giveaways, haircuts and housing assistance.

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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