Volunteers needed to help with causes of homelessness

Clallam County's Homelessness Task Force is organizing Homeless Connect events from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, at Port Angeles' Vern Burton Center and at the Olympic Community Action building in Forks.

A Homeless Connect is designed to link people who are homeless with resources that could help them end their homelessness. The fourth Thursday in January was chosen to coincide with the annual federally designated Point In Time Count of homeless people.

Anyone interested in eliminating homelessness in Clallam County will find opportunities to help. Medical and other professionals especially are needed to provide services on-site.

Among volunteers already signed up are Port Angeles attorneys Joe Lavin, Mark Baumann and Steve Robins, as well as attorneys from the Clallam County Public Defenders office.

The attorneys, for example, will help people resolve legal issues that have made it difficult for them to obtain housing.

"I'm a good fit for this," said Lavin, who has devoted his practice to Social Security Insurance disability cases for more than 20 years. Although Thursdays are administrative hearings days for him, Lavin said he will make time to help those whose homelessness may be related to unresolved SSI claims.

Baumann will help with traffic and criminal court cases, plus mediation and family law issues. Past work at Clallam County Pro Bono clinics has given him the experience to provide effective help quickly, he said.

Robins' specialty is representing low-income clients in civil cases. As lead attorney at the Northwest Justice Project's Port Angeles office, he said he offered to help at the Homeless Connect because "it's something I strongly believe in personally and it's part of our mission."

Other professionals interested in volunteering services at the Homeless Connect in Port Angeles should contact Serenity House deputy director Cindy Burdine at 452-9866 or e-mail

To help in other ways or to donate, contact Jill Dole at Clallam County Health & Human Services, 565-2608,

To volunteer at the Forks Homeless Connect, contact Ruth King, ruthk@forks, or Cheri Fleck, cherif@forks, at West End Outreach Services, 360-374-6177.

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