Project Homeless Connect, which provides free health care, haircuts, backpacks, hot meals and other resources, will have a new home this year and added services — including a portable laundry and showers. The annual one-day event to help people in need is scheduled for July 14 at Everett High School.
“Laundry and showers are the big new services,” said United Way of Snohomish County’s Adrian Wieland. On-the-spot medical, dental and vision care, housing and benefits information, help for veterans and much more will be available.
“Everything is free,” said Wieland, United Way’s senior manager of learning and analytics.
Everett’s Evergreen Middle School hosted Project Homeless Connect in 2015, and in other years it was at Cascade High School. Jacqui Campbell, the local United Way’s director of marketing and communications, said the venue change is because of summer school schedules at the other Everett schools.
During the event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 14, Wetmore Avenue will be closed to traffic between 24th and 25th streets to accommodate Project Homeless Connect. Most resources will be in Everett High’s Norm Lowery Gymnasium on Wetmore, with mobile medical vehicles parked nearby.
Lunch, prepared by the Everett Gospel Mission’s Feed Hope Kitchen staff, will be served in the school cafeteria. Guests will be seated and served restaurant-style.
Project Homeless Connect was launched in Everett in 2008. Built on a national model, the event delivers free, direct services while working to improve long-term access to needed resources.
About 1,000 people were served at last year’s event, among them 260 children. Helping were about 90 programs and 164 volunteers. This year, volunteers are still needed for to help with registration and exit surveys, at information desks, and in the cafeteria. July 6 is the volunteer sign-up deadline.
Project Homeless Connect is a joint effort of the county’s Human Services Department, the Snohomish Health District, the city of Everett, United Way, the Homeless Policy Task Force and many nonprofits.
Bob Malone is treasurer of the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, which provided $40,000 to sponsor Project Homeless Connect. The fund also has given backpacks to the effort. This will be Malone’s fifth year volunteering with registration at Project Homeless Connect.
“Everybody has their own story, and a different experience of homelessness,” said Malone, who gathers demographic information at the event entrance.
Everett Transit will provide free bus service the day of the event, Wieland said. And about 1,400 backpacks, filled with toiletries gathered by the YWCA, will be distributed.
Students and staff from Paroba College, an Everett cosmetology school, will provide free haircuts. “It’s a great opportunity for students to help in the community,” said Patience Hoffman, a Paroba barber instructor.
Project Homeless Connect is coming the month after Snohomish County announced publication of its final 2016 Point in Time Count Report. On Jan. 28, the annual count surveyed 1,118 people in 878 households who didn’t have permanent places to stay. People ranging in age from 44 days to 90 years old were counted as being unsheltered or staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing or other precarious homes.
Among them were 36 military veterans, 68 children, and 194 people who said they were domestic violence survivors.
The city of Everett, meanwhile, is at work developing a “housing-first” project to combat homelessness. In May, the city revealed a proposed site for the housing facility, just east of Evergreen Way in the Glacier View neighborhood.
At Project Homeless Connect, Jessica Reasy sees the faces, and the feet, of poverty. She is executive director of Redeeming Soles, a Seattle-based nonprofit that will bring some 2,000 pairs of shoes to the July 14 event. Redeeming Soles gets athletic shoes from the Nike, Brooks and Salomon companies.
Reasy has seen kids at Project Homeless Connect wearing shoes three sizes too small.
“You realize it’s not just homelessness and it’s not just addiction,” Reasy said. “It’s people like you and me who have maybe hit a rough patch.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Project Homeless Connect is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 14 at Everett High School. The school is at 2416 Colby Ave., Everett. Most events are one block east in the school’s Norm Lowery Gymnasium, between 24th and 25th streets on Wetmore Avenue, with lunch in the school cafeteria. The event provides free services including health care, housing information, showers, laundry and hot meals.
Volunteers are needed. July 6 is volunteer registration deadline. Information: 425-374-5530 or email Jessica.Gaitan@uwsc.org. Volunteer online at: www.uwsc.org/phcsnoco.php
See Snohomish County report on 2016 Point in Time homelessness count at: