Posted Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
Offers Wide Array of Services — Homeless Residents Invited to Attend
Project Homeless Connect, a daylong, consumer focused, one-stop event designed to provide an array of resources and support to those experiencing homelessness in our Morris County community, will be held on Thursday, Jan. 23 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 70 Maple Avenue, in Morristown.
An Opening Ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. with doors opening at 10 a.m. The event runs until 2 p.m.
“We are thrilled to be involved with Project Homeless Connect. Morris County is an compassionate county and this effort is proof positive of that,” said said Bob Davison, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, which is the lead agency coordinating the event. “While basic shelter is important Project Homeless Connect is also about treating people with dignity and respect and giving them the opportunity to help themselves. Morris County can be proud of its support of its most vulnerable residents.”
“We strongly support efforts by our Human Services team, the Mental Health Association and nonprofit agencies in Morris County to help our residents find appropriate housing for themselves and their families,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, the county governing board’s liaison on social services issues.
“It is especially important to focus on this topic and to help our homeless community during this time of year, when some of our less-fortunate residents without homes have to seek refuge on bitterly cold nights at our Code Blue warming centers across the county,” said DeFillippo
A Point in Time Count also will take place next week, Jan. 28-29, in coordination with Project Homeless Connect. It is a street and shelter count to determine the number of people experiencing homelessness within Morris County.
In 2019, through a survey conducted one a single night — Jan 22, 2019 — NJCounts found 8,864 homeless men, women and children (388 in Morris County) across New Jersey.
More than 40 community-based service providers will participate in Thursday’s event in Morris County and provide resources free of charge to all who attend. Project Homeless Connect guests can get free haircuts, free healthcare screenings and vaccines, free backpacks and personal care products, as well as food, clothing and gift cards. Services will include homeless prevention programs, employment services, and energy assistance programs. In addition, providers will be on hand to offer information on domestic violence, veterans’ services, substance abuse, housing and mental health.
Morris County’s Navigating Hope mobile social services van and Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon’s Hope One van, a mobile substance abuse resource center, both will be located at the location.
Project Homeless Connect began in 2004, when the city of San Francisco organized a special day dedicated to providing necessary services to the homeless. The Morris County Project Homeless Connect event began in 2006 under the leadership of Family Promise of Morris County. Since 2008, it has been under the leadership of the Mental Health Association and typically serves about 200 people per year.
In 2019 Morris County also launched Everyday Connect, a project that offers a way for services to come to those who need them throughout the year instead of just at one annual event. Service providers visiting Dover and Morristown drop-in centers, Edna’s Haven and Our Promise, on a rotating basis throughout the year. This allows homeless individuals to access services at locations they visit daily without an appointment, instead of having consumers seek out services.
To learn more about Project Homeless Connect, and to volunteer and/or make a donation, residents can contact Danielle Pera at (973) 334-3496.