One-Day, One-Stop Shop Planned for 'Project Homeless Connect' in Contra Costa
November 28, 2006
Dozens of volunteers and community organizations are preparing to join Contra Costa Health Services' (CCHS) Homeless Program on December 7 in providing a first ever, one-day, "one-stop shop" for the homeless in Contra Costa.
The goal of Contra Costa County's Project Homeless Connect is to provide clothing, supplies, services like medical care, substance abuse and mental health counseling, and housing or shelter to the more than 4,800 people who are homeless on any given day in Contra Costa, said Cynthia Belon, Director of CCHS Homeless Program.
"This is going to be an unprecedented collaboration of service providers that are often inaccessible to the homeless population," said Belon of the event, planned for Dec. 7 at Richmond Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza. "We think this event can help a lot of families and individuals meet a variety of important needs, all at one time, as well as making positive connections to eventually end their homelessness."
The "one-day, one-stop shop" will include potential resolution of minor legal offenses by Superior County Judge Stephen Austin, ordering of identification cards from the Department of Motor Vehicles, personal grooming services, assorted health services, repair of eyeglasses and bicycles and many others. More partners are still being sought to provide other services, referrals and material donations.
Arrangements to volunteer or donated something can be made on the CCHS website or by calling CCHS Homeless Programs at 925-313-6124. Checks can be mailed to Great Richmond Interfaith Program/Project Homeless Connect, 597 Center Avenue, Suite 325, Martinez, CA 94553. The Project also has its own email address.
Project Homeless Connect is being coordinated by CCHS in conjunction with the City of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, and other partners are being sought along with individual volunteers and donations. An estimated 15,000 people experience homelessness in Contra Costa each year, with 900 families and more than 4,800 individuals enduring it each night.
"We'll be relying a lot on volunteers to greet the homeless as they arrive, help complete medical and dental applications, provide translations, serve food and provide numerous services including child care and pet care," Belon said, noting that 150 people have volunteered for the event so far. "It's going to be a real team effort."
Donations are being sought of the following items: clothing (especially for cold weather), blankets, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, luggage, strollers, bicycles, non-perishable food, can openers, toiletries and gift certificates to restaurants or grocery stores.
Skilled volunteers are also sought to provide the following: mental health, domestic abuse and substance abuse counseling; eye exams and eyeglasses; employment services; benefits assistance; legal assistance; wheelchair repair; massage and foot care; and educational classes.
For more information, call Cynthia Belon at 925-313-6736.
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