Volunteers needed for Homeless Connect

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Volunteers needed for Homeless Connect

Posted: 11/18/2005
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale issued a call for volunteers to assist with Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event designed to help homeless individuals and families tap into the resources needed to help them move toward housing and self-sufficiency.

Medical, dental and vision care services will be offered as well as mental health counseling, legal assistance, help with various benefits programs, information and referral for housing, haircuts and much more will also be provided. Information about homeless individuals will also be entered into a database, with the goal of assigning each a caseworker to ensure their needs are being met and services are not duplicated.

Optometrists, dentists and dental assistants are particularly needed, although many opportunities exist for anyone who is willing to help. Training will be provided, and Remote Area Medical will provide equipment for medical, dental and vision services.The event will be Dec. 8 at the Knoxville Exhibition Convention Center at the Holiday Inn Downtown from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are asked to report at 8:30 a.m."Project Homeless Connect has evolved from the Knoxville/Knox County Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which calls for efforts by the whole community - government, shelters, service agencies and faith-based organizations - to solve the problem," Mayor Haslam said. "Project Homeless Connect is a first step to demonstrate how that can be done." Mayor Ragsdale said, "Chronic, long-term homelessness is a problem that affects the entire community. When all of us step up and work together, we can find the solutions that will make a real difference in the lives of the chronically homeless."

The chronically homeless are individuals who have been on the streets for a year or more, and often struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues. While the chronically homeless are only 10 percent of the homeless population, they consume half of the community resources available to the homeless.To find out more about Project Homeless Connect and sign up to volunteer, please visit the website www.knoxhomelessconnect.org, or call 311, and a City operator will take your information over the phone. Once you have signed up, volunteer coordinators for Project Homeless Connect will provide you with further information.Knoxville is one of 22 cities across the country holding such events on December 8. San Francisco created the first Project Homeless Connect event in 2004, which the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness considers a best practice for communities.Organizers of Project Connect Homeless are the City of Knoxville, Knox County and the East Tennessee Coalition for the Homeless.