One-stop shop for homeless people


Nearly 2000 people who are experiencing homelessness are expected to participate in the April 28 Minneapolis Project Homeless Connect (PHC), a semi-annual event billed as a “one stop shop” where people can receive services and connect up with resources that they need, according to organizers. Some 1000 volunteers will be available to assist them. Nearly100 service providers, businesses and faith communities come together in partnership with the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County to put on the event.

Minneapolis Project Homeless Connect
Monday, April 28
10:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Convention Center, 3rd Avenue entrance

The first PHC was held in December 2005, with 200 volunteers and 500 homeless people Held twice a year, the day “gets bigger and better every time, ” says Matthew Ayres, who works in the Office to End Homelessness, a joint effort of the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. By bigger and better, Ayres means that each time more people are receiving needed services, and more volunteers are stepping up to help.

Ayres says that the number of participants continues to grow each time as word gets out. While volunteers are recruited by visiting faith communities and businesses, their numbers continue to grow as volunteers share their experience with others. Ayres says that almost all volunteers have “a really enlightening and wonderful experience.”

Many agencies provide on-the-spot mental health, vision, dental, and medical care, including immunizations. Other services range from haircuts to employment information, legal assistance, transportation information, housing resources, food and clothing. Services are geared to all ages, including youth and small children.

St. Paul sponsors its own Project Homeless Connect, scheduled for June 10.

Mary Thoemke, a lifelong resident of St. Paul, lives in the North End neighborhood. Now working as a freelance writer, Mary is retired from the St. Paul Public Schools. She also served as editor of the North End News, a community newspaper.