Most days the Union Rescue Mission is bustling with people and activities – people coming and going all day long looking for supportive services. But on December 10th, 2009, the ground floor of the Union Rescue Mission (URM) was even more active than usual – full to the brim with guests, volunteers, local partner agencies, helpful staff, and a whole host of new Skid Row neighbors experiencing homelessness.
On this day, URM joined with many of our city, county and private partners to host the Project Homeless Connect Day (PHC) 2009, in alliance with the National Initiative coordinated by the White House Interagency Council on Homelessness. The purpose of this LA County sponsored event was to bring together service providers, agencies and other local organizations to provide housing, hospitality, information, health-care and many other invaluable services for friends in the midst of homelessness. PHC is not only a service fair, or an information and referral event, it is an innovative one-day *consumer-focused* one-stop.
Our downtown site hosted a large-scale collaboration of over 40 downtown Los Angeles area service providers, service organizations, businesses and residents to provide area homeless and working poor access to the assistance they need to become self-sufficient and to ultimately obtain affordable housing. At our downtown site, we served over 700 guests, with the help of over 280 volunteers and community friends. Services included legal aid, service referrals, medical attention, flu shots, mammograms, birth certificates, ID cards and transitional housing. Practical needs were met as well by providing hygiene kits, warm blankets, bus tokens, free books, and a hot lunch, all in a fun atmosphere with plenty of musical entertainment throughout the day.
Project Homeless Connect 2009 was a great success – uniting our downtown community, strengthening our partnerships, sharing our gifts and providing much-needed services to bless those who we have the privilege of serving. Special thanks to everyone who pitched in and served so joyfully that day. We couldn’t have done it without you!