The word is getting out and the number of people finding help at the annual Project Homeless Connect in the Flathead is growing. It’s a two-day event that started three-years-ago that brings together the different agencies set up to provide help to the homeless and those living in poverty, as well as offering different donated goods and services to those in need.
Agency Development Director Danielle Bundrock with Community Action Partnership is managing the third annual Project Homeless Connect in the Flathead. Bundrock said the different agencies coming to the two-day event includes medical and dental services, financial and employment assistance, house counseling, senior services, veterans services, legal assistance, and more. She said all these programs exist daily in the Flathead, but their offices are scattered across the area, making it difficult for someone without reliable transportation to seek them out.
“It uses a lot of their resources in order to get more resources for themselves,” Bundrock said. “Project Homeless Connect is a pooling of those events in one place that provides immediate services the day that they are there, instead of filling out the applications and waiting.”
Bundrock said last year the event served 401 people including 48 veterans, and 137 youths.
This year it runs Thursday the 7th and Friday the 8th in partnership with the Samaritan House, the homeless shelter in Kalispell. On Thursday the Mobile Veterans Center will be at the event.
“Any veterans that need to be registered with the VA have that opportunity on Thursday to come down and get that extra assistance that they don’t typically get. We also have a large semi-truck full of pallets of different veterans materials,” Bundrock said those materials include blankets, coats, boots, and more. She said it’s important for veterans to bring their military service record to access veterans-only services.
“We also have adult clothing, a massive amount of it, for people, so that’s a different service that anybody can get, as well as we have food bags available for people to take home, we’re going to be serving chili for lunch, both day,” Bundrock said pet services, bicycle repair, hairstylists, and dental hygienists providing on-site cleanings. She said local dentist Dr. David Keim will be offering dental services through his office.
“They’re the services that when you’re providing- trying to find money for your family to eat, or for yourself- you’re not going to have the funds to go to a dentist and get the necessary dental work that you need,” Bundrock said.
They still need volunteers. Whenever someone shows up to Project Homeless Connect they’re paired with a tour guide who knows what services are where, connects people with the help they need, and walks them through the process.
Volunteers can still sign up by calling Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana.
The event runs Thursday from 11 to 6 and Friday from 9 until 1.