Thursday, May 21, 2009

SacHo to be official media at Sacramento Homeless Connect 2009

This year's Sacramento Homeless Connect will occur on May 30 at Sacramento City College, from 10am to 3pm. Tom Armstrong (that is, I) will be one of the "official media" people at the event, getting a badge and whatever other perks [donuts!?] come with that. As a media person, I intend to witness what occurs at the event and interview attendees, staff, volunteers, booth/kiosk experts, jazzband members, other media people, and whoever else wanders by.

The 2009 event will be the second annual Homeless Connect. The inaugural H.C. was held on May 31, 2008, at Cal Expo in the building that is currently operating as the homeless shelter known as Overflow.

This year's event isn't rolling out as impressively as last year's did, as I recall. But then, of course, last year's event was the very first, so it may have needed an especially big build-up. This year, now nine days away from H.C., there is little I've seen that would make people aware that an important date for homeless people in the metropolis is acoming.

At the Hands on Sacramento website, we're told this:

This year we expect over 700 guests, 400 volunteers, and 200 staff to participate.

At Sacramento Homeless Connect, guests access:
  • Housing and employment programs
  • Vision and dental screenings
  • Free identification cards
  • Alcohol and drug assessments
  • Legal counseling [Val Jon Farris will be the coordinator.]
  • Bicycle repair
  • HIV and Hepatitis C tests
  • Veterans Benefits
  • And more!
Benefits of Homeless Connect:
  • Connects homeless individuals to important services all in one place, reducing frustration and increasing awareness about possible sources of assistance.
  • Inspires community members to help end homelessness.
  • Businesses, faith-based groups, and colleges have the opportunity to make personal connections with people in need.
  • Helps debunk common myths and stereotypes about people who are homeless.
Re that last bulletted list, I don't know why Homeless Connect would "inspire community members to help end homelessness." I mean, THEY are not the ones coming to the event.

Also, I don't know why the event should help debunk myths and stereotypes about the homeless. The general public isn't going to be visiting the Homeless Connect event. And media coverage is not going to be all that widespead.

If the event "only" serves to inform, help and entertain many members of Homeless World Sac, that would be plenty nice. I, for one, would be mighty happy with that.

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