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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor
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For Immediate Release
Project Homeless Connect to be Held Dec. 8

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 Exhibition Center.

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 to housing.

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 Homelessness.

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 received haircuts.

But most importantly, within a month of the event, at least 30 homeless people found housing as a result of attending Project Homeless Connect.

"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 a home."

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 this effort.

To find out more about Project Homeless Connect, or to volunteer to help that day, please visit www.knoxprojectconnect.org.

 

For Immediate Release
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