Louisville’s homeless population will have an opportunity to access services, information and assistance in a one-stop environment at the 2016 Project Homeless Connect/VA Stand Down, on Wednesday, October 5. Resources available at the event will include food, clothing, medical evaluations, help with employment, education and benefit services and many other forms of assistance.
The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (entry doors will close at 1 p.m.) at The Salvation Army (Old Male High School) campus located at 911 S. Brook St. in Louisville. Several TARC buses will provide access throughout the day from emergency shelters to the event site. The event is coordinated by the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Louisville Metro Community Services, Coalition for the Homeless and other community partners including The Salvation Army.
The Project Homeless Connect/VA Stand Down (PHC/Stand Down) is an annual one-day community outreach project where representatives from community service organizations come together to address the collective needs of the homeless during a single visit. This event is made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers and resources from the United States Veteran Association (U.S.V.A.), Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Metro Council.
The latest numbers from the 2015 Homeless Census indicate 6,737 individuals were homeless at some point in Louisville last year — either on the streets, in homeless shelters or accessing services through Louisville’s homeless service providers. A variety of factors can lead to homelessness and often these individuals may be victims of domestic violence, disabled, veterans or senior citizens.
At last year’s event approximately 560 persons participated receiving a variety of individual services including State of KY ID cards, flu shots and other medical exams and services, housing linkages, mainstream benefit access (SSI/SSDI), clothing, food and general case management services. The “Stand Down” event, named for the military concept of renewal, personal care, etc., is replicated from a national service delivery model that has proven to be crucial in eliminating barriers to housing, employment, education and the myriad of other factors that contribute to long-term homelessness.
“This is a vital event for our community because it allows our service providers to connect much-needed resources to our homeless residents”, stated Mayor Greg Fischer. “It also allows us a great opportunity to measure the needs of our homeless population so that we can come together to be more responsive”.
As an added feature at this year’s event, a number of University of Louisville student-athletes will be available to meet attendees of PHC/Stand Down thanks to CardsCARE, U of L Athletic’s Community Outreach Program.
Also offered will be a foot-washing service provided by community volunteers and the Coalition for the Homeless. Many individuals experiencing homelessness have issues with their feet due to diabetes, frostbite and other exposure issues. Every participant at Project Homeless Connect/Stand Down will be invited to soak their feet and have them examined by medical volunteers. Members of Louisville Metro RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) have also led a sock and towel drive so that each participant can leave with new socks and healthier, cleaner feet.
For more information about the Homeless Connect event contact:
Jamie Watts – Louisville VAMC Homeless Supervisory Coordinator at 502-287-4176
Eric Friedlander – Louisville Metro Community Services at 502-574-3926
Natalie Harris – Coalition for the Homeless at 502-636-9550