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Project Connect 2010 Update October 29, 2010

Posted by abhomeless in Events.
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An excellent program …. Moved me to do more.”

On September 10, 2010 the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, in collaboration with the VA Stand Down, held the 4th annual Project Homeless Connect. This year was our best event yet!

Project Connect brings community-wide agencies together to provide services, information, and outreach to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness in order to provide them with the system of care that will help them move into or maintain stable housing.

“It was great to see so many people working together to help homeless people.”

For Asheville and Buncombe County, a community which prides itself on collaborating for the greater good and doing so in innovative ways, Project Connect is a perfect fit. The event not only helps people access housing, but is an opportunity for much more – it

  • Allows us to join together as a community to answer the needs of our neighbors,
  • Provides a space for innovation and creativity,
  • Fosters networking and collaboration among providers, businesses, faith groups and community members,
  • Offers a positive experience for everyone that is carried beyond the event,
  • Opens doors, creating new partnerships as we work together to end homelessness,
  • Honors the spirit of collaboration through our partnership with the VA Stand Down, a veteran-specific event that mirrors Project Connect.

“This is a truly rewarding experience. I appreciate the opportunity to participate. I think this is an event that everyone in our community would benefit from attending.”

Our collaboration and creativity allowed us to reach over 200  participants, 177 of which were documented in our HMIS database.

We couldn’t have done it without the efforts of over 65 volunteers, including 12 AmeriCorps and RSVP SeniorCorps volunteers who worked to help more than 50 community agencies represented at the event.

Project Connect was able to provide participants with services and supports such as: bus tickets that helped people get to and from the event and to follow-up appointments, housing information & applications, financial assistance, HIV & pregnancy tests, vision screenings,  foot care, substance abuse & mental health counseling, voter registration, haircuts, legal advice, employment & educational guidance, and pet care.

Furthermore, in an effort to support the City’s commitment to sustainability, all dining materials were recyclable and purchased from a local green vendor!

A special thank you to the participating agencies!

Feedback from participants:

“After talking with a teenage volunteer, he mentioned that his father is homeless. The young person expected to see his father at the event, hoping he knew about the services being offered. I had no idea that he had a close family member who was part of the homeless community. Just goes to show that homelessness can affect anyone and it’s even in places you might not expect.”

“I think what hit me again this year was the difficulty I had in differentiating participants from those volunteering and providing services. There is something about the change in terminology from homeless people to people experiencing homelessness that takes the labeling away. While I understand the need to categorize sometimes, homeless people sounds more like a charity perspective for people who are not like me, while people experiencing homelessness gives me the sense that people like me are having a challenge.”

Thank you again to everyone who turned out for Project Connect 2010! Your ongoing efforts to serve our community and end homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County are deeply appreciated.

Interested in helping with Project Connect 2011? Want to learn more about the Homeless Initiative? Want to volunteer at other events? Visit our website for more information on how to contact us!

You can see images of Project Connect 2010 on our Facebook page and on our Flikr account.

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Comments»

1. Tips For Volunteers « Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative - December 30, 2010

[…] have done everything from help serve a single meal to serving at Project Connect to joining a mentoring program with a team, helping a family settle into new housing and stabilize […]


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