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Resource fair to help those in financial need

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POSTED: May 21, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Homeless and low- to no-income individuals are invited to a resource fair June 4 at the National Guard Armory to connect with services offered by local businesses and government entities to make life a little bit easier.

Project Homeless Connect has gained the support of almost 40 service providers for the services that will be offered through a one-stop shop for those in need, Homeless Prevention Program Coordinator Daisy Jones said.

“Everything is free. We’re very excited about it. It’s been on our agenda for months,” Jones said of the project that received funding last year.

“I’m excited about all of it — the whole response from businesses. I love to hear when people say, ‘I want to do something.’ What makes it doable is all the people helping.”

Needy individuals and families are invited to the free event from noon-4 p.m. to receive everything from books and teddy bears to glucose and blood-pressure screenings.

Housing and shelter information will be provided, along with help for those who have hearing issues.

Haircuts, confidential HIV testing, art classes and credit counseling also will be offered throughout the day.

Food gift certificates will be offered, and eligible applicants also can apply for food stamps.

Although numerous businesses and organizations are participating, Jones said she hopes more volunteers and businesses will offer donations of their time, services or monetary help for the event.

Debra Phillips, office manager for Family Intervention Specialist Inc., is part of the group helping Jones get organized for the upcoming event.

She said she is excited about seeing everything come together, especially in Hinesville.

“I’m just excited something like this is coming about for the first time,” Phillips said. “My biggest challenge (with helping) is because I have a full-time job. I wish I could do more.”

It isn’t very often that these kinds of entities can gather under one roof, so the event provides an opportunity for the community, business owners and government employees to learn about what is available for those in need, Jones said.

Ideally, the fair would be held once a year if funds are available in the form of grants or donations.

Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless, which offers homeless locals a safe environment to get back on their feet, will attend the event.

Representatives plan to advertise the center’s services alongside information about the center’s thrift shop, K&K.

“The advantage of an event like this is that we’ll have many agencies in one place at one time. Transportation is often a challenge for individuals we serve, so only having to get to one place is a great benefit for them,” said Charli Shearer, program coordinator for Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless.

Jones said the event also is an opportunity to redefine the definition of homeless, which isn’t always the man standing on the corner begging for money.

“A number of people don’t know what’s out there. They don’t know what they need to get to become self-sufficient,” Jones said.

“People may have heard from time to time that there’s no homeless people in Hinesville, but you know there are. Some you can see, but most of them you can’t see. When you really look in their face, you don’t know if they’re homeless or not.”

The deadline for volunteers and businesses to get involved is May 27.

“The buzz is out there. We expect to get more support,” Jones said. “A lot of people are going to be blessed by this.”

 

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