The fourth annual Passageways Homeless Connect Day was held on Oct. 19 at the Salvation Army facility in Pasadena and each year the turnout increases.
Pacific Clinics, the event planners for Homeless Connect Day, notes on its website that 2009’s event offered 2,900 free services to 405 individuals. Of those numerous services, there were 98 flu shots provided, 73 haircuts, 65 vision tests, 97 dental screenings, 46 mental health screenings, 36 legal services and 750 lunches. This year’s numbers are expected to surpass those of last year.
Health services such as flu shots, HIV and STD testing and dental screenings were held in one building while another building hosted various booths from different nonprofit organizations offering information on topics like transitional housing (or “sober living” as one volunteer described it), drug treatment programs, employment development, social security and others. The services even extended to the parking lot, where vendors urged anyone passing by to take any of the various fruits or water bottles on display as they pleased.
Kitty Galt, who is an outreach specialist with Passageways, has supervised and run the event every year and also ran the event for eight previous years as a resource fair. She usually participates in street outreach, a daily mobile service that encourages the homeless to make use of local services and resources. Homeless Connect Day works in much the same way. It not only offers a variety of resources to the homeless but also does its part by informing them that such services are actually available.
The Homeless Connect Day website speaks on the event’s expectations of providing a variety of services to the homeless, but also to address “many of the barriers to housing.” One of these barriers appears to be a lack of information about the availability of resources and helping hands. It is hoped that the organization of events like Homeless Connect Day will dispel that very barrier.