Project Homeless Connect

This is the second year Bethel has participated in Project Homeless Connect. The event gives homeless individuals an opportunity to access a host of free services all in one place.

This year the event was held at Bethel Middle School. Jay Brower, Bethel’s director of community connections said that Project Homeless Connect was originally held in the Tacoma Dome Area. When organizers saw that some of the outlying areas weren’t able to attend, they asked around to see who would be willing to host additional events.

“We raised our hands because we want to make sure our community is taken care of,” said Brower. “Because there’s so many miles of unincorporated Pierce County out here, and so few services for our people.”

Coordinated by South Sound Outreach, Project Homeless Connect connects people with services. This year, homeless individuals were able to get medical and dental care, vouchers for new drivers licenses and IDs, information on housing opportunities, free haircuts, clothing, food, toiletries, and much more.

Alanna Rodgers is the events coordinator for Project Homeless Connect.  She said for someone who is struggling, a fresh haircut or a new pair of glasses can be just the thing they need to get back on track. “It just gives me great joy that I’m giving someone a fresh start and giving back to the community when people feel lost.”

Rodgers said she loves seeing the results of her work, “I had this gentlemen tell me that he came to the Sumner event and he had a tooth that had been aching. He said that for six weeks he couldn’t focus on anything else but the toothache, so he got it fixed and finally got to go to a job interview. It was a starting point back for him.”DSC_0052

“I had another person that wanted a job but didn’t have the money to get their driver’s license renewed, Rogers continued. “So he came here and got a voucher and then he got the job.”

Project Homeless Connect wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the 200 volunteers who gave up part of their day to help out, whether it was cutting hair or passing out socks. Volunteer groups included Bethel School District teachers, principals and staff, local veterans, the Boys and Girls Club, AmeriCorps, and many others.

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