United Way of Central Alabama partnered with One Roof and many other community and government organizations for the 10th annual Project Homeless connect, providing many resources for the Birmingham homeless community.
Homeless clients were provided with access to resources and services that may have taken months if not years to obtain at any other time. Among the services were housing, legal aid, state IDs, medical and dental care, grooming services and more. Tables were also set up for domestic abuse victims and another specifically for young people experiencing homelessness.
Around 650 homeless arrived at Boutwell Auditorium starting early Saturday morning hours through the afternoon. Between the participating community organizations and the many “Smiling Faces” guides recruited by Hands on Birmingham, there were an estimated 1,000 volunteers on hand.
“This is our 10th year doing Project Homeless Connect,” said Michelle Farley, the executive director of One Roof. “It’s a phenomenal collaboration – we have everyone here from volunteer attorneys to student health providers. We’re just so grateful that our community comes together in this manner to help end homelessness.”
One of those helped was Bryant Stearns, who said he has been coming to PHC for several years.
“It’s a great service, it gives people the opportunity to get some things taken care of,” said Stearns. “You get the chance to interact with a lot of different people in the community. It’s sort of a hand and glove thing – one thing helps another. It’s real beneficial, and it’s definitely benefited me.”
Stearns was most proud to receive a driver’s license, which he hadn’t had in almost seven years. He also took the opportunity to clear up several tickets with the help of volunteer attorneys from the Birmingham Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers program.
Last year, partner agencies provided 1,222 individual medical services, 71 state IDs and 150 legal consults to over 600 clients and similar numbers are expected this year.