Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski along with service providers and community partners, announced the first annual Project Homeless Connect in Salt Lake City to be held October 6th at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
A volunteer driven event, Project Homeless Connect is a one-day, one-stop event in Salt Lake City that brings together community volunteers to provide services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The national movement has taken place in San Francisco, Denver, Washington D.C., and other cities.
Organizers anticipate up to 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness to participate throughout the day. During the announcement, Mayor Biskupski stressed the importance of community participation in the event.
“Like everything we are doing to address homelessness in our State, Project Homeless Connect will be successful only through true collaboration and partnership,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Project Homeless Connect will rely on the expertise of service providers, the generosity of financial sponsors, as well as the hundreds of people who will make an individual commitment to volunteer on October 6th.”
Mayor Biskupski called on residents and businesses to help fill the 500 volunteer posts necessary. Volunteers are asked to work 1-10 hour shifts, beginning as early as 6:30 AM the day of the event. Organizers also highlighted the need for additional financial support, with current funding coming from Salt Lake City, Morgan Stanley, Salt Palace Convention Center, Bonnemort Family Foundation, Cowboy Partners, Wasatch Development, and others.
Between 50-60 individual services are expected to be available, including: haircuts and beard trims from the Salon at Library Square; bike repair from Bike Collective and Contender Bicycle; computer skills and services from the Salt Lake City Public Library; veterinary services; wound care and naloxone services from Salt Lake City Fire Department; family planning services from Planned Parenthood; substance use disorder counseling from the Community Connection Center; credit repair; job services; dental; and more.
“As the name suggests, our goal truly is to connect those experiencing homelessness, not only with services, but also with someone in the community who cares,” said Mayor Biskupski. “I hope that throughout the day friendships are made and better understanding flows from those relationships.”
On any given day in Salt Lake City, there are more than 2,000 people who are experiencing homelessness. The goal of Project Homeless Connect is to bring service providers together under one roof, to assess and target services.
“By having a place where a lot of individuals will be coming, we will be able to learn more about them, which will allow us to tailor our services and programs to have better outcomes,” said Michelle Flynn, Director of Programs for The Road Home.
Organizers hope to make Project Homeless Connect an annual event, supplemented by smaller events currently being hosted by the Salt Lake City Public Library.
Working with service providers, organizers will begin reaching out to those experiencing homelessness in the coming weeks. Organizers plan on hosting a breakfast prior to the event, as well as providing transportation, to encourage participation.
“This is a great opportunity for the City, service providers, and those experiencing homelessness to learn from one another,” said Mike Akerlow, Deputy Director of Community and Neighborhoods for Salt Lake City. “On October 6th, the Salt Palace Convention Center will be transformed into a place of hope for everyone in our community.”
Project Homeless Connect Salt Lake City will be held on October 6, 2017 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. More information can be found at www.phcslc.org.