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Project Homeless Connect returns to Port Angeles

Sequim Gazette staff

Locals experiencing housing crises will find a wide array of one-stop, no-cost help at Project Homeless Connect, set for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, March 7, at the Vern Burton Center, Fourth and Peabody streets in Port Angeles.

 

In addition to agencies that help with housing, guests can connect with more than 40 other services and resources including hot meals, clothing and hygiene supplies.

 

At each of the previous four Connects, some people who arrived homeless left having secured housing.

 

New this year, optometrist Cynthia Bidegary will do vision screenings in the morning. For a second year, two mobile units will provide services on site. Pain relief dentistry will be available in the SmileMobile and the state Department of Social and Health Services mobile office will process benefit claims. The always popular haircutting area will be staffed by a barber and two hair stylists.

 

“We have quite a few new service providers signed up, but we also had a couple drop out,” said services coordinator Debbie Tesch.

 

“In particular, people should not bring their pets, unless they have no safe place to leave them. We will have an outdoor pet-sitting area where volunteers will look after pets while their owners are inside, but we have not been able to arrange for veterinary services this year.”

 

Event organizers saw several people who were familiar with Project Homeless Connect show up to the Vern Burton Center in February, the month the event was held the past three years.

 

“Having people lining up a month early tells us they really need what Homeless Connect has to offer,” said Mercy Luquetta-Cole, director of Clallam County Homeless Outreach — the organizing entity.

 

Clallam County Homeless Outreach is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. It incorporated as a tax-deductible non-profit in 2012, to organize the local annual service expo and other outreach activities. Homeless Connect projects began in San Francisco in 2004, to offer comprehensive services and resources in one place to people experiencing homelessness.

 

For more information, e-mail to clallamcounty.homelessoutreach@gmail.com or write to CCHO, P.O. Box 804, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

 

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