Project Homeless Connect, an annual event co-chaired by One Roof, the City of Birmingham, Hands On Birmingham, and the United Way of Central Alabama, is returning to Boutwell Auditorium on Saturday, April 11th, for its 8th year. Project Homeless Connect empowers Birmingham’s homeless citizens by bringing together over 60 area nonprofits to provide as many necessary services as possible in one location on one day. One Roof, the lead agency for central Alabama’s homeless Continuum of Care, coordinates Project Homeless Connect every spring as a way to remove barriers that keep homeless individuals from obtaining safe, decent, affordable housing. Services offered at Project Homeless Connect include, but are not limited to, vision screenings, glasses, legal services, physicals, and state ID cards. In 2014, agencies at PHC served 921 clients, issued 149 state IDs, and performed 182 medical screenings, among many other services.
The vital services offered at PHC could not be accomplished without the help of volunteers. Around 1,000 volunteers are needed to serve as Smiling Faces Client Guides. Client Guides are a crucial part of engaging guests and making them feel welcome. After signing in, Client Guides will go through a 10-15 minute orientation and are paired with a client. These volunteers will make sure the client has guidance and help in obtaining all the services they need that day. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and should be able to volunteer 4.5 hours of their time. Volunteers not affiliated with a specific agency should wear a red t-shirt. Hands On Birmingham organizes volunteers at PHC, and online registration can be found here.
A new concern for this year’s Project Homeless Connect is the rising cost of state IDs, which are provided to homeless individuals at Project Homeless Connect. Where state IDs used to cost $20 each, the price has risen to nearly $40.00.
“Access to a state ID is critical for folks experiencing homelessness,” says Michelle Farley, One Roof’s Executive Director. “Without a state ID, it is nearly impossible to have access to health care, a bank account, or to apply for employment or housing.” One Roof is requesting assistance from the community to make sure this precious resource can still be offered at Project Homeless Connect. You can make access to this crucial service possible for homeless individuals by donating to One Roof to sponsor IDs.
For more information about Project Homeless Connect, click here.