Capital hosts homeless resource fair

More than a dozen agencies came together under one roof Friday to offer services to the homeless.

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Sara Earley discusses housing options with Sheree Pigford, family advocate for Central Missouri Community Action.

“People don’t realize on any given day there are approximately 250 people homeless in Jefferson City and many, many more in the county,” said Vicki Bullock, executive director of The Redeem Project.

Bullock volunteered to help with communication and publicity for the event, but two others were the brains behind the operation.

Lindsay Bunch, a juvenile officer at the Prenger Center, had participated in a similar event in Columbia and wanted to organize one in Cole County.

She e-mailed Lupe Buckingham about her idea in August 2010. Buckingham is community services supervisor at Central Missouri Community Action, and the pair often worked together referring clients to each other’s agencies.

“I had been thinking about it, too. Columbia and other bigger cities have these kinds of events, and I thought, ‘We’re the Capital City, and we don’t have anything like that going on!’ We had to fix that,” Buckingham said.

Bunch and Buckingham brought their idea to a meeting of the Unmet Needs Committee, a group of agencies that meets once a month at the Samaritan Center.

Mindie Friederich, family school advocate for Jefferson City Public Schools, was on hand to share school district resources. She visits students’ homes to make sure they have shoes, clothing and hygiene products, ensuring basic needs are met so children can be in school.

Family Counseling Center, the Cole County Health Department, the Community Health Center, Healthcare USA and ACT Missouri also set up tables at the fair, each with brochures about their services.

A Missouri Career Center representative specifically for veterans was on hand to offer career counseling, right next to a Veterans Affairs booth.

JobPoint, a not-for-profit employment center for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, spoke with clients about job opportunities and training.

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