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Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect Volunteering

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Project Homeless ConnectThis last week a few of us from the Adventure Life office in Missoula, MT have the priviledge of volunteering at Project Homeless Connect.  This is a one-day, one-stop event aimed at connecting the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless with core services. The services are diverse, with the opportunities ranging from getting a haircut to signing up for Social Security, from getting a coat mended to getting teeth cleaned.  Our job was to be a guide - each individual coming to receive services was paired up with a volunteer to help them navigate the confusing maze of rooms and stairwells.  Here are a few of our experiences:

Project Homeless Connect
"There are multiple faces of homelessness.  I had heard this mantra attached to several non-profit campaigns and slogans throughout my life, but I had never really considered it beyond its face value as a campaign slogan rather than a statement of fact.  This all changed during my brief time volunteering at Project Homeless Connect (PHC)  While I can't take in everyone into my tiny rental house or "fix" the rampant problems of a semi-faulty system, what I can do is be a human being and remember that everyone else is as well.  While providing much-needed services is at the forefront of Project Homeless Connect, reminding the community that there is no boundary between the so called "us and them" I would say, is the more important component of PHC.  I had the privilege of meeting two gentlemen and sharing a cup of coffee together. As I shook their hands, I realized of course that the possibility of seeing them again would be slim, but in that moment there was no "us and them" just two people, a cup of coffee and a little bit of hope for the days to come." ~ Shanna

"Every year I volunteer at PHC, I meet someone with a new story. This year, I met a women who recently was released from prison and working to get back on her feet. She was on her way in the afternoon to a job interview at a local hotel.  We walked through the aisles and she told me a bit about herself and her three children.  We we able to get reading glasses a warm winter coat for her at a few of the stations.  Such simple items but they made a world of difference to her and she was very thankful for all of the help each volunteer and provider gave her.  That's another thing that has struck me over the years - how thankful eveeryone has been to us as volunteers.  I will definitely volunteer next year but my hope is that in the next 5 to 10 years we won't have a need for this kind of project if we find ways to prevent people from living on the streets in the first place." ~ Lynessa Project Homeless Connect

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