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Community can help address homelessness

Posted: December 26, 2013 - 1:10pm  |  Updated: December 27, 2013 - 9:30am

For individuals and families who are homeless there is no warm home waiting at the end of the day. Homeless children don’t have the luxury of sitting at the breakfast table in the morning before going off to school and it’s hard for children to concentrate on learning when they’re worried about where they’ll sleep that night or if they’ll have enough food to eat. Homelessness deprives adults and children of the most basic of necessities and leaves in its place feelings of despair and helplessness.

The cause of homelessness isn’t a fault of the person or a life-style choice, but one of situational or personal hardship that can affect any one of us: a lost job, unemployment, disability or chronic illness, the inability to make ends meets due to lack of adequate finances, lack of affordable housing, fleeing violence in the home.

To address the issue of homelessness in our community, the Kenai Peninsula Coalition on Homelessness (KPCH) will be conducting the 3rd annual Project Homeless Connect event on January 28, 2014 at the Kenai Center Mall in Kenai from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Project Homeless Connect is a nationally recognized program that has been conducted in over 150 cities nation-wide. The project is a one-day event; local service agencies will provide one-stop information and assistance for housing, employment, education, health care, social service benefits and more for homeless individuals, families, seniors, and veterans.

Currently there are over 250 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the borough and many more living on the verge of becoming homeless. Approximately 40% of the homeless have dependent children and 15% are chronically homeless. The effects of homelessness negatively impact all aspects of personal well-being, health, and safety. Access to adequate resources to address individual needs is a critical component in combating homelessness.

Here are three simple ways you can help with the Project Homeless Connect event:

■ Become a sponsor by contributing a cash donation. There is no sponsorship too small and cash donations help absorb the costs of outreach, marketing, services and supplies.

■ Donate an in-kind contribution. We are in need of food items for give-away bags, gently used or new clothing (coats, hats, gloves, and socks), backpacks, toiletry items, etc.

■ Donate your time. Volunteers are needed to help distribute flyers, as event day greeters, food servers, set up and break down, preparing give away bags, etc. This is a great opportunity for organizations to participate with staff volunteer efforts!

As recognition for support, a thank you letter will be published in the Peninsula Clarion after the event.

Thank you for considering our request. To help with the event or donate cash or in-kind gifts, please contact Marti Slater at (907) 690-3671, or revmslater@gmail.com. We appreciate any and all contributions!


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