Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Project Homeless Connect provides medical and dental screenings, California ID cards and haircuts from professional stylists to San Diego's homeless at one-day service fair in downtown.
Wednesday was the eighth Project Homeless Connect, a one-day resource fair for San Diego's homeless population, organized by the San Diego Housing Commission.
Nearly 80 service providers and 600 volunteers came to Golden Hall downtown for the event, which provides the homeless with medical and dental screenings, identification cards issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and haircuts from professional stylists. Even pets received food, vaccinations and microchipping.
San Diego has the third-largest homeless population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York.
Joyce Ann Stewart is a San Diego native, and has been homeless for the past 20 years, both in Texas and San Diego. She now lives in temporary housing with the help of Social Security, and recalls being surprised by San Diego's development and large homeless population when she returned from Texas.
"When I came back and saw all this — I said, 'holy moly, what happened to San Diego?'" Stewart said.
Rosemary Johnston of the Interfaith Network, which provided counseling services at Project Homeless Connect, said the event is also beneficial for the volunteers.
"I think it often makes them more grateful for their own situation, and puts it in perspective," Johnston said.
The line to enter Golden Hall on Wednesday stretched all the way to the street. Nearly 850 people came to the event, fewer than the 1,143 individuals who went to the last Project Homeless Connect in January.