City, local nonprofits hold Sept. 11-12 event to help homeless

From the city of Asheville:

ASHEVILLE – The annual Project Connect and VA Stand Down events for the homeless will take place on September 11-12, 2013, at two locations in Asheville.

Project Connect and the VA Stand Down bring the full community together to address the root causes of homelessness by providing tools and support to individuals and families seeking to stabilize their housing. These co-sponsored events are part of a trend that recognizes that collaborative problem solving is a more effective way to face the crisis of homelessness.

The events are hosted by Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative and the Veterans Administration in partnership with the Haywood Street Congregation, First Baptist Church and the United Way’s Day of Caring. Combining these events makes the Asheville-Buncombe Community a national model for collaborative problem solving.

Project Connect will serve anyone in the community who is experiencing a housing crisis and will take place over two days:

Project Connect Day 1 will be held from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Haywood Street Congregation 297 Haywood St., Asheville. All are welcome for services and to share a meal. Clothing closet, haircuts, flu shots, housing and service providers will be on site.

Project Connect Day 2 will be held from 9 a.m. – Noon, Thursday, Sept. 12 at First Baptist Church, 5 Oak St., Asheville. A meal will be served. Medical Care, HIV/HepC rapid tests, haircuts and other services will be available along with housing resources from a variety of local service providers.

These events seek to create an environment where agencies provide services on-site and create a dialogue about what is working, and what is not. People are invited to stop by for a moment and sign a poster affirming our commitment to ending homelessness.

Heather Dillashaw, Project Connect spokesperson, said that the events have three goals: join together as a community to answer the needs of neighbors, house as many people as possible, and offer a positive experience for everyone.

The VA Stand Down will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave., Asheville. The Stand Down is a one-day event coordinated by the Veterans Health Administration for Veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.

The Stand Down is designed to help eliminate obstacles Veterans face in overcoming homelessness. The event adds a new dimension to community outreach through coordinated efforts to contact people who are missed by routine outreach methods. It also fosters partnerships between business, government, non-profits, and community members dedicated to addressing homelessness.

Veterans will have the chance to speak with VHA and community agencies to receive information on housing, employment, mental health services, education and benefits. Other services that will be offered include a lunch, haircuts, showers, medical screenings, and distribution of supplies.

For more information on Project Connect contact the City of Asheville Planning Department/Homeless Initiative at (828) 259-5851.

For more information on the VA Stand Down call (828) 298-7911 ext. 5506.


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