On July 9, volunteers lined up for Project Homeless Connect, a program in which attendees provide free services to almost 1,000 community members. The recipients received a hot meal, medical care, dental care, child support services, information about Social Security eligibility, and other necessary services throughout the day.
Jessica Gaitan, the community engagement coordinator of United Way of Snohomish County said the event was quite a success this year. “I think it’s such a great event. It’s definitely a need in Snohomish County. I think it’s a unique high-impact event for these folks.”
Gaitan is responsible for recruiting and training volunteers at community events like this. She recalled one gentleman receiving services who also decided to volunteer. Another group of clients are planning on volunteering next year. “Everyone has something to offer. The clients want to volunteer their time too.”
There are approximately 1,000 people in Snohomish County who do not have a permanent place to live based on the Point in Time homeless count, which attempts to tally the number one day a year. The strong partnerships that have made the event possible for seven years now are built on the mission to end homelessness, engage the local community and build long-lasting relationships.
Beginning in 2008, Project Homeless Connect has continued to grow in services, volunteers, and attendees. This year’s event was a collaboration among the United Way of Snohomish County, the City of Everett, Homeless Policy Task Force, and many other agencies who donated time, services and funds to make the event possible.
Marketing and communications director of UWSC Jacqui Campbell said they are about to start ramping up for next year’s event. “We don’t see this event ending because there is a need,” Campbell said.
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound as well as other financial grants from BECU and the City of Everett largely funded the event. The day is open to anyone experiencing homelessness or at risk; everyone from young children to those 55 and older attended this year’s event.