Sussex County Holds 3rd Project Homeless Connect Release Date: February 23, 2009
Sussex County Holds 3rd Project Homeless Connect
Originating in San Francisco in 2004, the Project Homeless Connect model has been used in over 130 cities across the country.
The 3rd annual Sussex County Project Homeless Connect was held on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, in spite of the snow and ice storm that day. Agencies, community volunteers and businesses came together to provide services to homeless county residents or those at risk of being homeless at a one-stop shop event. Services included legal assistance, free dental screenings and exams, mental health and substance abuse, information on housing, veterans' services, heating assistance, social security, food and clothing. The services and goods were available at two sites this year, Manna House, located at 54 High Street, and Christ Church, Main Street, both of Newton. Free haircuts and flu shots were offered at neighboring Sussex County Interfaith Hospitality Network on February 11, due to the inclement weather.
Originating in San Francisco in 2004, the Project Homeless Connect model has been used in over 130 cities across the country. Because this model has been so successful, San Francisco holds the event on a bi-monthly basis. Project Homeless Connect took place in every county in the state during the winter season of 2006/2007, hosting a total of 44 sites. According to Monarch Housing, "New Jersey is the first state in the country to host a statewide coordinated Project Homeless Connect event at 44 different sites." The Project Homeless Connect model has been successful and continues to be replicated. The long-term goal is to move people into permanent housing and eliminate homelessness.
Despite the snow and ice storm, this year's Sussex County event had over 50 residents attend, resulting in 63 referrals to participating human service agencies. The successful linkage of services included: housing and shelter referrals, mental health and substance abuse information, legal assistance, employment service information and helpful information to access children's services. Due to the generosity and outpouring of the community, county residents were able to receive winter coats, scarves, hats, gloves, socks, food kits, prescription discount cards, gift cards, can openers, paper products and laundry detergent among many other personal items. Each resident was given a homeless resource card and a resource directory, which lists a multitude of county services. Sussex County is dedicated to making this event an annual one and will continue to address the problem of homelessness in our community.