United Way of Central Maryland’s Sixth Annual Project Homeless Connect the Largest Ever, with 2,400 Baltimore Area Families and Individuals Experiencing or at Risk of Homelessness Served
For the first time ever, one of the largest resource fairs in the country for those facing homelessness, provided more than 300 prescription eye glasses on site for individuals that received an eye exam.
BALTIMORE (October 18, 2017) – Last Thursday and Friday, United Way of Central Maryland assisted 2,400 families and individuals facing homelessness at the organization’s sixth annual Project Homeless Connect event in the Baltimore Convention Center. For the second year in a row, event organizers expanded one of the largest homeless resource fairs in the country to two days, with the second day dedicated to dental exams and treatment including cleanings, fillings and extractions. The local nonprofit gathered more than 130 local organizations and 2,500 community volunteers at the event to aid those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in Baltimore City and the surrounding area.
On Thursday, volunteers were matched one-on-one with a homeless adult or family to guide them to the services they needed the most, including a 65-chair University of Maryland School of Dentistry Mission of Mercy dental clinic that offered cleanings, fillings and extractions to close to 1,000 patients over the course of the two-day event. In addition to the dental clinic, this year’s event featured both vision screenings and fulfilling prescription glasses needs onsite, with more than 400 patients served. Both the dental and vision clinic were made possible by a partnership with Remote Area Medical, who provides medical care through mobile clinics in underserved, isolated or impoverished communities. Other services available during the first day of the event, ranged from housing information and employment programs to haircuts, legal services, and identification cards.
Friday’s event was dedicated solely to the dental services, a format that began last year and was provided through the partnership with The University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s Mission of Mercy dental clinic and Remote Area Medical.
“Remote Area Medical is proud to have partnered with United Way of Central Maryland to deliver free, high-quality dental and vision services to the residents of Baltimore for the first time,” said Stan Brock, Founder & President of Remote Area Medical. “Women, men and children received dental and vision services valued at $646,641 at no cost to them or to taxpayers. It is clear there is great need for residents in Maryland to receive RAM’s services. We look forward to continuing our partnership and we won’t stop until every person has access to affordable, high-quality care.”
One guest who had recently lost her husband, and subsequently, her housing, said “I thought there was no one in Baltimore that cared anymore…and then I came here.” She was able to receive ID, housing assistance and dental work. “You need to know that you all saved my life,” she said.
Replicated in more than 300 cities, Project Homeless Connect is a citywide resource fair that provides those experiencing or at-risk for homelessness the opportunity to receive on-the-spot services all in one place. The event supports United Way’s fight for the education, health and financial stability of every person in every community — and works to empower area individuals to become self-sufficient by focusing on the building blocks of a better life: education, employment, housing and health.
“Change doesn’t happen alone,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “Project Homeless Connect shows that when individuals, communities, businesses and other nonprofits come together, we can make a real, positive difference. Last year, I participated as a volunteer, but this was my first Project Homeless Connect with United Way of Central Maryland and I am so grateful for the incredible amount of support we have received from organizations, companies and volunteers who made it their mission to be here to ensure those experiencing homelessness are getting the vital services they need. United, we will continue to confront the struggles of individuals and families in our local communities — and we will continue to fight until it becomes a win.”
At last year’s Project Homeless Connect, 2,100 people experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness received services. In 2013, United Way Worldwide declared Baltimore’s Project Homeless Connect the national best practice model for direct homeless service events. United Way of Central Maryland and the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Human Services brought the Project Homeless Connect model to Baltimore in August of 2012.
This year’s event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the City of Baltimore and The Journey Home.
To learn more about this year’s Project Homeless Connect, please visit www.uwcm.org/phc.
About United Way of Central Maryland
United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in every community. For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties, and Baltimore City.
All of United Way’s work is supported by the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, a 24-hour, 7-day a week service that provides information and referrals on a variety of health and human service issues. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the program has provided answers for more than 104,000 calls for help in fiscal year 2016.
In January 2017, United Ways in Maryland released the ALICE® Report, revealing that more than a third of Maryland households – nearly 750,000 – either live in poverty, or qualify at or below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold. United Way of Central Maryland works to stabilize ALICE residents – individuals and families who work hard but still cannot afford basic necessities because of Maryland’s high cost of living – and those that fall below the Federal Poverty Level, by focusing on the building blocks of a better life to become self-sufficient: education, employment, housing and health.
United Way is improving lives in central Maryland communities, but no one can create change alone. United Way of Central Maryland encourages individuals to get their friends, colleagues and others involved, to do more in the community and help more families in central Maryland. Working together, United Way of Central Maryland, its supporters and its volunteers can empower more families in the communities it serves.