December 6, 2006 - Project Homeless
Connect, a one-day event designed to connect homeless individuals
with the resources that can help lead them to housing and self-sufficiency,
will be held Friday, Dec. 8, at the old Knoxville Convention and
Anyone who is homeless is invited to the event, which will run
between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the exhibition center beneath the
Holiday Inn at World's Fair Park.
Medical, dental and vision care services will be available as
well as many other services including mental health counseling and
legal assistance and information on matters ranging from haircuts
This is the second annual Project Homeless Connect and it is sponsored
by Knoxville and Knox County in partnership with Remote Area Medical
and Knox Area Veterans Stand Down.
It is part of the city and county's Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic
While food, coats and various services will be available on Friday
the goal of the event is not just to feed and clothe the homeless
and make their lives on the street a little easier. Instead it's
aim is to assemble the entire homeless assistance community - ranging
from government agencies, to faith-based and non-profit organizations,
churches and individual volunteers - at the same time and place
to bring the homeless into contact with services that could help
get them off the streets.
"This effort brings all the organizations that help the homeless
together under one roof," said Mayor Bill Haslam, "to
collectively try and find a way to put a roof over the heads of
as many of these folks as we can."
At last year's event, for example, more than 350 professionals
and volunteers gathered to work with more than 450 homeless people.
As a result 40 people received dental services, 91 received vision
care and glasses, 32 got mental health screenings and 95 individuals
But most importantly, within a month of the event, at least 30
homeless people found housing as a result of attending Project Homeless
"It's obvious from the success of last year's event that Project
Homeless Connect is filling a real need," Knox County Mayor
Mike Ragsdale said. "This event puts plans into action where
homeless individuals can receive real services, and hopefully find
Michael Dunthorn, a community development project manager with
the city said sponsors hope the numbers who are helped and end up
housed rise this year.
"It's because of something they have access to that day that
gets them housed," said Dunthorn. "Everything is in one
place. Our goal is to do it better each time."
He said Knoxville and Knox County are grateful to Remote Area Medical,
which is providing all the setup and materials for the medical and
dental practitioners, and to Knox Area Veterans Stand Down for joining
with them to sponsor the event.
The veterans group has done smaller similar events prior to joining
To find out more about Project Homeless Connect, or to volunteer
to help that day, please visit www.knoxprojectconnect.org.