Cape Girardeau to host Project Homeless Connect event

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cape Girardeau County has been selected by the Missouri Governor's Committee to End Homelessness to host an event to help homeless individuals and families.

Called Project Homeless Connect, the event is scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau. Roy Jones, the project's donations chairman, expects as many as 400 people to attend and is planning for up to 300 volunteers to offer assistance.

"This is an unusual opportunity to demonstrate a spirit of caring in helping and working with folks who need it," Jones said. "We want people to know that Cape Girardeau cares about them."

The concept of the event is to organize, for one day, a one-stop shop of services for people who need them most. An individual, or even an entire family who requests a particular kind of assistance from an agency or group, will be matched with a volunteer who will guide them to the services they may require.

A spectrum of services is expected to be provided, ranging from health programs sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Public Health Center and on-site care from area dentists, to help in obtaining items such a birth certificates and photo identification. Services as simple as haircuts and clothing are also expected to be offered, along with lunch for the participants and transportation to and from the event provided by the Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority.

It is the idea of having everything under one roof that especially pleases Jones, who believes that people are often frustrated by being referred to one agency after another for the services they need. "People who are disadvantaged and without adequate resources are likely to become discouraged when they contact agency after agency for help and ultimately not receiving it," he said. "We want to show that this project will, even for a brief period of time, get people through the maze of agencies they are likely to encounter. Everything will be in one place for a change."

Project Homeless Connect was initiated in Missouri three years ago, with similar events previously held in Branson, Columbia and Sedalia. The governor's committee chose Cape Girardeau County to host the event this year due to the 100 to 125 homeless people it has at any given time.

"The project has been successful in the other Missouri locations it's been held in," Jones said, "and we are looking for it to be an even bigger success here in Cape. We're blessed to have the services that are going to be offered."

But the success of the event, according to Jones, will rely upon the support from the community. All financial gifts are tax-deductible and those who donate their time as a volunteer will be greatly appreciated.

For more information on Project Homeless Connect, contact Jones at 651-3747.


Pertinent address:

1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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