Puyallup: News

Project Homeless Connect provides one-stop shop for support

For the homeless population, getting back on their feet to secure employment, housing and proper medical care can be a daunting task. Sound Outreach hopes its annual event provides a one-stop shop to give homeless folks a starting point to get back on their feet.

The event occurs four times through out the year in Pierce County. In January, the event is hosted in Spanaway. Then in August, it is in Lakewood, and the biggest one of the year is held in Tacoma in October.

Sound Outreach hosted its Puyallup event Tuesday at the Washington State Fairgrounds.

“A variety of different services are offered,” said Alanna Rodgers from Sound Outreach. “They can go and get their teeth cleaned; we also have a dental unit there that can do anything from filling cavities to full extractions. We have veteran resources, we give haircuts, we have an urgent care unit where they can get a physical or a blood pressure check. We have giveaways, we do everything from socks and lotions to shampoo to sleeping bags to shoes. We have the DSHS mobile unit there and then a variety of different resources like an access point for housing we will have work force there doing employment.”

The Department of Licensing is also at the event, because without a license or identification, little can be accomplished. A free meal is also served to attendees.

The giveaway portion of the event started when Martha Davis of Toy Rescue Mission saw participants at the event receiving foot care, only to have the same dirty sock placed back on their feet.

“It made me so sad,” she said. “I did a sock drive that brought in 5,000 pair of socks. I eventually added lotions, rain coats, winter hats and gloves.”

Now participants can receive soaps, socks, gloves, shoes, feminine products, toys and clothes.

Instead of needing to go all over Pierce County to get all of these resources, Rodgers said the goal is to bring it all to those in need.

“It’s a one-stop shop to getting back to stability,” she said. “A lot of times, you get lost in the system because you aren’t really sure where to start. So this gives them a starting point back to stability, to start fresh and start over.”

With transportation being a key issue to prevent the homeless to getting back to stability, most of the participants at the event are very happy and relieved to be finally getting the resources needed.

“People get so frustrated sometimes when they go to one place and find out they can’t get help there and they’re sent to another place,” Rodgers said. “Transportation is typically an issue, or they don’t have money to get on the bus. So they’re happy to be able to go to one place to get everything they need, from a driver’s license to a haircut to meeting with an access point to get their questions answered about housing.”

For more on Project Homeless Connect, visit www. pchomelessconnect.com/.