ROCHESTER, NY (September 19, 2013) -Project Homeless Connect began in 2009 with a small group of people with big idea: to hold a one-day, one-stop service event to help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Rochester. Since that day four years ago, Project Homeless Connect Rochester (PHCR) has continued with its mission to rally community support and create lasting solutions for homeless in Rochester and all of Monroe County. On Friday, September 20, PHCR welcomes the community to its third day-long event at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial from 8:30 AM- 3:00 PM.
“Watching so many agencies come together to serve those most in need in our community is amazing,” said Kathryn Bryan, senior vice president of property management and resident services at PathStone Corporation. “While we celebrate the commitment of volunteers and the generosity of the citizens of Rochester and Monroe County to ensure the success of this program, it’s also a reminder that there is still much that needs to be done. Rochester is a city with a generous heart, and we intend to make sure that everyone who needs help gets help.” PathStone Corporation joined Project Homeless Connect in 2012 to serve as the home-base for the project.
More than 700 volunteers have donated their time and effort to PHCR since its inaugural event in 2009. At every event, the goal is simple: to provide as many services as possible in one location, so that people can get done in one day what it might otherwise take months to accomplish. During the last event in 2011, PHCR helped more than 260 individuals seek immediate shelter; assisted 154 individuals obtain identification; provided guidance regarding legal assistance to 100 individuals and helped countless others with information on services for veterans, medical insurance and temporary assistance to needy families (TANF).
Joel Kunkler, director of landlord tenant and homeless prevention at The Housing Council at PathStone, Inc. suggests the event breaks down barriers that may halt people from seeking services. “By having all these service providers together in one spot for one day, we offer the opportunity for someone that may be homeless, or may be facing homelessness, the chance to access services all at once.”
Kunkler says there may be many barriers to seeking services that are not limited to just transportation. Often individuals seeking services may not have all the correct forms, information or identification. “What a great way to ensure our folks get the services they deserve by having all the providers right in one spot, and instead of being turned away for an appointment another day, they are directed to the place they need to go just a couple aisles over.”
“It takes a lot of people to make this event happen; we needed volunteers for all kinds of things– serving lunch, handing out coats, making appointments for people with doctors, serving as escorts,” said Barbara Grosh, event coordinator. “It is a day where we all work together and feel good about the Rochester community.” Just as essential to the success of PHCR are the sponsors who provide much-needed resources, services and an incredible generosity of spirit.
About Project Homeless Connect Rochester
The mission of Homeless Connect Rochester is to rally the city to support and create lasting solutions for homeless Rochesterians. We aim to bring together community volunteers to partner with city government, non-profits and the private sector to provide a one-stop shop of health and human services for homeless Rochesterians. Services include medical, mental health, substance abuse, housing, dental, SSI benefits, legal counseling, eyeglasses, New York ID, food, voicemail, employment counseling and job placement and more.