Helping the homeless

SANTA CRUZ — Services for homeless people in Santa Cruz County came together under one common roof Tuesday at the third annual Project Homeless Connect. More than 40 non-profit groups set up tables, booths, workstations and impromptu exam rooms for the six-hour event that is designed to introduce services that are available to aid people dealing with homelessness.

Hair cutting, dental and medical work, bike repair, eye exams, acupuncture, DMV Identification cards, counseling, and veterans outreach is a mere sampling of the wealth of options set before the 700-plus homeless people that showed up. Veterinarians were also on hand to provide vaccination and exams for pets.

“Last year we had more than 750 people show up and we made a lot of valuable connections, said Deanna Zachary of Applied Survey Research. “The event has expanded tremendously, especially in the area of vision, medical and dental care. We expect to have hundreds of pairs of glasses to hand out and the ability to do vision tests and dental care that includes pulling a tooth.”

Project Homeless Connect is the brainchild of then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom 10 years ago. The project has flourished and has now spread out to 220 cities in three countries.

For the complete article see the 04-19-2012 issue.
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