The Fairbanks Housing and Homeless Coalition held their annual Project Homeless Connect event on January 24th 2018 at the JP Jones Community Development Center. The Project provided a one-day, one-stop opportunity for Fairbanks homeless to reconnect with services others take for granted. The event assisted close to 200 percent more Fairbanks homeless than the previous event, an indication of the growing impact of the yearly program.
Attendees could seek vision, dental, and other basic medical treatments, while waiting for a haircut provided by New Look Hair Salon. Government agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Labor, were there to guide people through filling out paperwork for personal identification cards or job applications.
Fairbanks Housing and Homeless Coalition Coordinator Mike Sanders said that he was impressed by the number of people who participated and the number who volunteered.
"It's been a pretty great event so far. The last time I took a look at the counter, we'd had 255 people here, but that was a couple of hours ago so I think we've probably had about 300 by this point. Fairbanks is such an amazing place for volunteers. A few weeks ago we were afraid we wouldn't have enough and today, and over the last couple days, we've just had a flood of volunteers and it's been great." -- Mike Sanders
The final total homeless attendance amounted to 347 people, which is 207 more people than last years Project Homeless Connect. A total of 68 service providers from 33 agencies provided a number of services including housing, employment assistance, financial counseling, driver's licenses, dental screening, haircuts, winter gear, etc. Seventy two other volunteers helped distribute goods, serve lunch, direct traffic, conduct surveys, and generally assist the attendees and service providers.
Paula Earp, Program Manager for the Golden Heart Community Foundation, a co-sponsor along with the North Star Community Foundation, noted that the project helps to "demonstrate the needs of our community and the importance of donations of money or time."
The Fairbanks Housing and Homeless Coalition would like you to join them in their 10-year goal. They will continue to push for success until homelessness is eliminated in Fairbanks, in partnership with the City of Fairbanks, the North Star Community Foundation, and the Golden Heart Community Foundation.
Some images from the event: