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Planning begins for 2011 Homeless Connect

Shelter Providers Network of Clallam County members unanimously requested that the Clallam County Homeless Task Force again sponsor Project Homeless Connect.

Project Homeless Connect, a one-day, exposition-style event to connect people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with resources to help them overcome their homelessness, was held Jan. 28. It was so effective that a second annual event is being planned for early in 2011.

Network members chose Jill Dole, of the County Health Department, and Cindy Burdine, a Serenity House of Clallam County deputy director, to repeat as event co-chairmen.



Sponsors needed

In 2010, the county commissioners allocated $8,000 to underwrite the first Homeless Connect. The committee spent only about $3,500, returning the balance to the document recording fee fund, which is dedicated to support efforts to end homelessness in Clallam County.

In 2011, those public funds should be used only to cover in-house expenses such as printing, Dole said. To cover all other costs, more business sponsors will be recruited.

Seven Cedars Casino, North Peninsula Building Association and Much Professional Textile Printers were major business sponsors of the 2010 Homeless Connect. The Port Angeles Food Bank fed attendees and the city of Port Angeles donated use of the Vern Burton Center for the event.



Results

When asked whether Project Homeless Connect is worthy enough to put energy into, the Shelter Providers Network of Clallam County responded with a resounding "Yes."

As an example of the event's value, Arlene Engel reported that through the 2010 Homeless Connect, a mother who is active in the local National Association for the Mentally Ill chapter was able to locate her daughter who had been missing. Engel is the NAMI chapter's longtime president and an elected Olympic Medical Center commissioner.



How to help

Numerous volunteers who provided professional services and logistical support were key to the event's effectiveness, Dole said. For more information, including volunteer opportunities, contact Jill Dole, Clallam County Health and Human Services, at 565-2608 or jdole@co.clallam.wa.us or Cindy Burdine, Serenity House, 452-9866 or cindybserenity@yahoo.com.









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