Impressive early results from yesterday’s Project Homeless Connect initiative

The Community Alliance for the Homeless gathered results from yesterday’s Project Homeless Connect event very quickly to share with our region, and the numbers are very impressive.

Over 825 volunteers provided helping hands and worked with over 1,204 people struggling with homelessness and related issues at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, TN.

Project Homeless Connect was sponsored in part by United Way of the Mid-South.

Finding housing, of course, is one of the largest issues in addressing homelessness and 708 people were screened for potential housing assistance. Forty-four were immediately approved for housing, and two were transported to permanent housing. Another major challenge faced by people struggling with homelessness is hunger. Yesterday, over 170 applications for food stamps were processed.

Roughly 100 people coming to receive help were U.S. veterans, who benefited from help provided by representatives from the Veterans Administration. Thirty veterans were able to begin the process of claiming benefits, and 25 were placed on lists for permanent housing.

Some people living on the streets need to clear up legal issues before they can become eligible for assistance they need to reestablish their lives. Members of the legal profession provided volunteer services yesterday, even holding court on site when necessary to resolve some issues. Over 160 people received legal counseling, and Judge Massey took action on 20 cases through Project Connect’s “street court.”

People struggling with homelessness also find it very difficult to take care of regular  medical needs, and they were helped by volunteers from local hospitals yesterday. Nearly 300 people received medical screenings, and over 240 saw physicians and nurses. Fifteen received on-the-spot treatments for conditions, and 237 made follow-up appointments. Three people needed to be transported to the emergency room from the site. Twenty people received dental treatments.

Many people struggling with homelessness have compounded problems since they lack any formal identification when completing paperwork or applying for a job. Yesterday over 240 IDs were issued.

Some people required mental health and/or substance abuse help. More than 45 people applied for PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) services. PATH helps people with serious mental illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders, who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. PATH services include community-based outreach, mental health, substance abuse, case management and other support services, as well as a limited set of housing services. United Way partner agency Synergy also provided information to people about their substance abuse treatment programs.

Over fifty people applied for help from the SOAR Technical Assistance Initiative. SOAR helps states and communities increase access to Social Security benefits for homeless people with mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. More than one hundred twenty people received additional Social Security services (such as an ID printout, new cards, or help with disability claims).

Incidents of HIV occur at higher-than-average rates among the homeless, and 109 people received HIV testing and/or counseling. United Way network partner agency Friends for Life helped with information and counseling.

People also had access to computers and phone services, and 30 people used the computers and 33 used the telephones.

(Note: The above results based upon numbers provided by The Community Alliance for the Homeless. )

Also: Read The Commercial Appeal ‘s story about the event here.

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