Volunteers still needed for Project Homeless Connect

The homeless count, survey and one-stop shop for services aimed to help that population is on Friday

Project Homeless Connect — an effort to offer services and resources to the homeless population and those in peril of becoming homeless — takes place Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Aberdeen Eagles club, 208 W. Market St. Volunteers are still needed to assist, according to the Coastal Community Action Program.

“This will be a one-stop shop for all the services they need,” said Lori Valentine, volunteer coordinator for the event. More than 40 organizations will be on hand.

Local homeless people can eat a hot meal, take a hot shower, get a haircut and receive a personal hygiene kit as well as find out about available services.

The mobile unit for the State Department of Social and Health Services will be there to help determine whether people are eligible for cash and food assistance. It will be an opportunity to apply for these programs, report pertinent life changes, obtain EBT cards and other documents. Child Care Subsidy Program applications will be accepted and eligibility determined for Medicare Savings Programs and Aged, Blind, or Disabled Medicaid.

There will also be representatives from groups that seek to help women, veterans and those with HIV, along with housing, employment and education service providers.

Its origin lies in the Point in Time Count, a head count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It determines how funding for services used to aid members of this group will be allocated in the near future. The population counting goes on in other parts of the county as well, specifically Westport, Ocean Shores and on the east side.

The head count has been going on for years. Service providers wanted to figure out how to connect this segment of the population to resources that could assist them in getting off of the streets. No personally identifiable information is going to be collected at the local event.

But along with trying to determine number of people who need help there will be a survey of participants to figure out what types of help are most needed, said Cassie Lentz, housing resource coordinator for Grays Harbor County.

“We want to determine the barriers to housing, the circumstances,” Lentz said. “And whether they are living in a tent, car, on someone’s couch,” Lentz said. “The more information we receive, the better we can gather picture of what the needs out there are.”

Participating in the survey is voluntary, Lentz also noted.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Valentine at 360-533-5100 or at loriv@coastalcap.org (Note: The contact information was corrected at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 25.)