November 18, 2005 - Knoxville Mayor Bill
Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale issued a call for volunteers
to assist with Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event designed
to help homeless individuals and families tap into the resources needed
to help them move toward housing and self-sufficiency.
dental and vision care services will be offered as well as mental
health counseling, legal assistance, help with various benefits
programs, information and referral for housing, haircuts and much
more will also be provided. Information about homeless individuals
will also be entered into a database, with the goal of assigning
each a caseworker to ensure their needs are being met and services
are not duplicated.
Optometrists, dentists and dental assistants are particularly needed,
although many opportunities exist for anyone who is willing to help.
Training will be provided, and Remote Area Medical will provide
equipment for medical, dental and vision services.
The event will be Dec. 8 at the Knoxville Exhibition Convention
Center at the Holiday Inn Downtown from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers
are asked to report at 8:30 a.m.
"Project Homeless Connect has evolved from the Knoxville/Knox
County Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which calls for
efforts by the whole community - government, shelters, service agencies
and faith-based organizations - to solve the problem," Mayor
Haslam said. "Project Homeless Connect is a first step to demonstrate
how that can be done."
Mayor Ragsdale said, "Chronic, long-term homelessness is
a problem that affects the entire community. When all of us step
up and work together, we can find the solutions that will make a
real difference in the lives of the chronically homeless."
The chronically homeless are individuals who have been on the streets
for a year or more, and often struggle with mental health and substance
abuse issues. While the chronically homeless are only 10 percent
of the homeless population, they consume half of the community resources
available to the homeless.
To find out more about Project Homeless Connect and sign up to
volunteer, please visit the website www.knoxhomelessconnect.org,
or call 311, and a City operator will take your information over
the phone. Once you have signed up, volunteer coordinators for Project
Homeless Connect will provide you with further information.
Knoxville is one of 22 cities across the country holding such events
on December 8. San Francisco created the first Project Homeless
Connect event in 2004, which the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
considers a best practice for communities.
Organizers of Project Connect Homeless are the City of Knoxville,
Knox County and the East Tennessee Coalition for the Homeless.