Last Thursday, more than 2,000 people experiencing homelessness or poverty were welcomed, guided and served – with dignity and open arms – by a corps of volunteers and service providers at the 3rd Annual Project Homeless Connect, co-led by United Way of Central Maryland and the City of Baltimore.
Project Homeless Connect is a day-long resource fair which convened 100 service providers to help reduce barriers. Services included medical screenings and dental care; mental health services; identification; credit reports and financial services; housing; resumes and employment assistance; clothing; legal help; haircuts and much more. All services were provided free of charge.
2,300 volunteers served as compassionate guides, personalizing the experience so participants could find and secure the help they required.
Achieving the building blocks of a successful life – education, financial stability and health – depends on many factors. The odds are stacked against those facing poverty.
Understanding the cycle of poverty can be a challenge if you’ve never experienced it.
How can you purchase nutritious food if you don’t have a car or reliable public transportation? What if your infant is sick but your job is at risk if you stay home from work? How can you help your kids with their homework when you are balancing two jobs? What do you do if an eviction notice arrives and you’ve exhausted all of your resources for the month?
These are the types of questions thousands of central Maryland families must tackle.
By Mark Furst, President & CEO
“But this is my house, the one I asked Mr. Kringle for. It is! I know it is! My room upstairs is like I knew it would be!” -Miracle on 34th Street
When you think about enjoying a warm and memorable holiday, it’s a safe bet that it involves friends, family and that special place called home. Home is where the spirit of family and the holidays lives.
For many families across central Maryland, that picture of home isn’t warm and bright. Home may be the inside of a car, a relative’s couch or even a cot at a homeless shelter. If a family is lucky enough to find room in a shelter, there’s a good chance they’ll be split up if they have a large family, teenage sons, or a father.