JOPLIN, Mo. — There are many different organizations that provide services for the poor and homeless. Today, many of them were under the same roof.
If you think most of the homeless have been that way for years, think again.
“Being my first time ever being in this situation, being homeless, it’s helping a lot because you don’t know all the resources if you’re not used to it. Like, you don’t know all of the resources, all of it being in one place is awesome, and everybody’s very helpful,” said Janine Berg, Seeking Services.
Berg is talking about the semi-annual Project Homeless Connect held at the Central Christian Center and put on by the Homeless Coalition of Jasper and Newton County, of which Robin Smith is the chair.
“And it seems like each time we have this, I see new faces every time and, they might just be folks that didn’t come before that have been here all this time or they might be totally new to the area, and we interview them and we ask them those questions to find out if they’re from here if they’ve come here for some specific reason,” said Robin Smith, Homeless Coalition Chair.
23 different not-for-profits that provide at least some type of service for the homeless were all under one roof, an effort Berg appreciates.
“I mean, if you have to walk, the heat and the trolley system isn’t, getting around isn’t easy if you don’t have a car, and a lot of people don’t, I’ve already gotten like three or four questions answered so it’s been awesome, Legal Aid, all kinds of stuff,” said Berg.
Area homeless received a host of information to help get them off the streets and back into society. Some got lunch and even a haircut if they wanted one.
But adults are not the only ones to suffer from homelessness, sometimes is an entire family. That’s why Stephanie Theis was there representing the Children’s Haven.
“If we can build a relationship with them and so they begin to trust us, then often they’ll let us help them with their children during such a crisis situation, and then their kids won’t have to sleep in the car or sleep somewhere that’s really not fit for kids,” said Theis.
This is the second of two Project Connect events held each year, the first of which occurs in January.