Area homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless will have an opportunity Saturday to connect with service providers who can help them in their time of need, as well as get information about emergency shelter, employment, health care and veterans services.
“Our two biggest goals are to continue to build upon the collaboration of resources and service providers that took part in the program last year, and to connect people in need with the information and services that can help them the most,” said Daisy Jones, coordinator for Hinesville’s Homeless Prevention Program.
Jones described Project Homeless Connect as a “one stop, one shop resource fair.”
“Last year was the first time we did it and after the event a lot of our service providers realized there were other resources right next door to them that could help too,” she said. “They reached out to those resources and so on.”
Jones said fewer service providers will take part Saturday than did last year. It is from 1-4 p.m. at Mt. Zion Community Center, 1370 Shaw Road. Some providers simply couldn’t be there, she said, but still provide services to those in need.
She said 26 service providers have committed to be there.
“Some of the services available include free dental care, haircuts and makeovers,” she said. “The (Liberty County) Health Department is giving away vouchers to women for free mammograms, and they’re giving free immunizations for adults. Water bottles, personal hygiene items and candy will also be given away.
“There’ll be lots of food and entertainment. We want it to be a family atmosphere, a positive atmosphere where people can feel comfortable when they meet with service providers to get the help they need.”
Jones said her office continues to average 17-20 referrals each month for people seeking help, but fewer people are seeking help for emergency shelter. She suggested that some people may not be calling about emergency shelter because they know the city doesn’t have any funds for that service anymore. Quite often, Jones said she has to refer her referrals to the Homeless Coalition, United Ministries Alliance and other charitable organizations.
“From time to time, I make calls to churches to get help for families,” she said. “(For example), we won’t have clothes to give away for this event because we just don’t have the facilities to store them. Bethel AME, however, will be giving away clothes at their church (on 233 N. Gause St.).”
She said service providers will start setting up at Mt. Zion Community Center on Friday evening then have a meeting the following morning. The public is invited, she said, but those attending the event will be required to fill out a survey before and after the event, so her office can gather important demographic information.
For information about Project Homeless Connect, or to make donations to the Homeless Prevention Program, call 876-6573.