Tuesday, October 4, 2011
City officials called today on San Diegans to donate their time, money or possessions to the homeless for the sixth annual Project Homeless Connect in January at Golden Hall downtown.
The fifth edition of the one-day resource fair served 660 homeless men and women. Attendees receive health and dental screenings, referrals to mental health and substance abuse services, and haircuts -- among other things.
"We know when we ask, San Diegans are always generous with their time and, of course, their donations,'' Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.
He encouraged residents to hold donation drives at work, school or their neighborhoods.
Donated clothing can help a homeless person attend a job interview or simply keep him warm, Faulconer said.
Project Homeless Connect, put on by the San Diego Housing Commission, also provides homeless with basic needs like jackets, blankets, sleeping bags, toothbrushes and socks.
The commission's chief executive, Rick Gentry, said 400 volunteers are needed to run the event.
"What we ask today is that you volunteer, provide a service or make a donation,'' Gentry said.
According to a report issued by the commission, of those who attended this year's event:
66 percent were men;
85 percent were single;
21 percent were veterans;
19 percent had children under the age of 18;
56 percent had some sort of medical condition;
45 percent suffered from a mental illness;
6 percent had received treatment for substance abuse; and
about 56 percent had no income from any source.
Last January, organizers ran out of bedding items like blankets, pillows and sleeping bags, shoes and new socks, backpacks, tote bags, luggage and coats, and hope to get larger amounts of each donated for the 2012 event.