Fort Collins comes together for Project Homeless Connect

Friday, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., those who are homeless or on the brink of becoming homeless in Fort Collins are invited to take part in a “one-day, one-stop, one-community” event called Project Homeless Connect, according to an email sent to the Collegian by Mary Timby, communications coordinator for the Bohemian Foundation.

Homeless 2020, The Bohemian Foundation and CSU’s SLiCE office are partnering to put together Fort Collins’ fourth Project Homeless Connect.

“Homeward 2020 was an initiative that was started by a group of community members to develop and implement a 10-year plan to stop homelessness,” said Vanessa Fenley, director of Homeward 2020.

When Homeward 2020 first began Project Homeless Connect, they wanted other groups within the community such as CSU to help out, Fenley said.

“We recognized the energy that CSU as a campus and a student body has,” Fenley said.

Fenley said the partnership has been a benefit to Project Homeless because volunteers can take various workloads.

“It has created a really good partnership,” Fenley said.

Project Homeless Connect pairs up a volunteer with a client one-to-one to help them navigate the services provided. The CSU SLiCE office recruited more than 400 students to volunteer, according to a press release from Project Homeless Connect.

“It’s difficult to know what to expect,” said Brooke Henderson, senior health and exercise major. “You never know who you will get paired with.”

This will be Henderson’s third year volunteering for Project Homeless Connect, and she said she is looking forward to getting to know the person she is paired up with this year as well as hearing all their stories.

The event provides various services such as haircuts, food and medical services to those who are homeless or near homeless, Fenley said.

“Whatever they need when they come in, we will try and provide for them,” Fenley said.

This year Project Homeless Connect is expecting to see a greater number of visitors because the Poudre School district will have a day off.

Steve Budner Recreation Manager at the Aztlan Community Center anticipates 1,000 visitors throughout the day.

Collegian writers Corrie Sahling and Skyler Leonard can be reached at news@collegian.com.