MISSOULA — The Missoula At-Risk Housing Coalition will hold its annual Project Community Connect event on Friday, Jan. 31.
The 14th annual event will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at The Valentine Center at 2811 Latimer Street, which is a new location for this event. Project Community Connect is a one-day, one-stop service event for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Those taking part in the event will be able to receive free haircuts, medical and dental care, winter clothing, housing information, employment information, financial counseling, benefits enrollment, senior services, personal hygiene packets, pet services and more.
For the first time, Missoula County Justice and City of Missoula Municipal courts will be at the event to help people in addressing court cases and misdemeanor warrants.
Over 75 nonprofit service providers, local businesses, churches and government agencies and more than 100 community volunteers are expected to take part in the event. Organizers expect to provide services to at least 350 people at the free event and no appointments are necessary.
“To end homelessness in Missoula, we must ensure it is prevented whenever possible, and, when it cannot be prevented, it’s a rare, brief, and one-time-only experience,” said Reaching Home Coordinator Theresa Williams. “Project Community Connect is one of several strategies outlined in our 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness that can have an immediate positive impact on someone’s living situation,” she added.
Event organizers state that the objectives of Project Community Connect are:
- To connect people who are experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless to core services that can help lead to self-sufficiency through a one-stop service model.
- To connect volunteers with people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness for a day of service, as well as future opportunities to help people in need.
- To connect service providers with each other to serve people who are experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless in a new and different way.
- To demonstrate broad community support to those experiencing homelessness in Missoula and to provide human connections to people who are often alienated.
The Missoula At-Risk Housing Coalition reports that 2019 Point-in-Time data found that 344 people were experiencing homelessness in Missoula.