The Fourth Annual Project Connect was held in the City Auditorium on March 15. Forty agencies offered information and services in seventeen different areas. The program is advertised for homeless people who want to get off the streets. There are no hand-outs. The only things given out are information, services and coffee.
There were fewer homeless people in attendance this year, about 150, and I believe this is due to the fact that the Homeward Pikes Peak Homeless Outreach Program had helped diminish the number of homeless tent campers from over 600 to about 225 in previous years.
As in previous years, some individuals entered both housing and rehab programs directly from the event and many others were given appointments for follow-up consultations in the near future.
We will always draw fewer homeless individuals than other events of this type (e.g., the Veterans’ Stand-Down) because we refuse to make this an event to better equip homeless individuals. We do not give away tents, sleeping bags, underwear, jeans, etc. We are interested in helping individuals who are willing to work their way out of homelessness to find services, jobs and suitable programs. We will continue to offer “a hand up, not a handout”.