MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Project Homeless Connect offers help and hope for some Mid-Southerners most in need.
Widely recognized as one of the largest service opportunities of its kind, Project Homeless Connect places resources that are needed to exit homelessness under one roof. The program connects people to purpose.
Thursday, the Cook Convention Center was full of hundreds of people helping people.
“For the volunteers, we want them to know that people who are homeless are just like them except for resources,” said Executive Director Chere Bradshaw, executive director of Community Alliance for the Homeless.
Held in conjunction with the Mayors' Action Plan to End Homelessness, the event provided opportunities such as housing referrals, employment services, veterans' services, health evaluations and screenings.
One of the most popular services was the free eye exams offered by the Southern College of Optometry. Hair care for men and women, donations of clothing and toiletry items, and other services were also available.
“It means a whole lot to come back and be able to give back to those who gave to me,” said volunteer Tamara Hendrix.
Five years ago, Hendrix attended the event looking to find a home. This year, she’s participating as a volunteer.
She said following up with support is essential.
“Maybe a case worker or someone to check on you every now and say how are doing today, are you doing OK, or maybe a therapist or something like that,” Hendrix said.
Since its inception in 2010, this event has served thousands of homeless individuals throughout the Mid-South.
“The numbers are down, which we are really excited about, because that means that we’re reducing homelessness,” Bradshaw said. “Since 2012 we have reduced homelessness by about 41 percent, so we are super excited about that.”
Organizers say they want people to walk away with not only help but hope.
For more information, visit their website.