Our Opinion: Completing the equation on homelessness

Connections are the key.

Our community has amassed numerous resources to help people in need.

But that is only half the equation.

The other half is connecting those resources to people who need them.

Last week, more than a dozen agencies that provide services to the homeless gathered under one roof to reach out. Completing the link, an estimated 65 people attended.

“The people here are honest and decent,” remarked one homeless woman who attended the event, “and I think this event is such a great resource.”

As is often the case, coordinating events of this magnitude requires the work of more than one person.

Coordinators of the event to aid the homeless included: Vicki Bullock, executive director of the Redeem Project; Lindsay Bunch, a juvenile office at the Prenger Center; and Lupe Buckingham, community services supervisor at Central Missouri Community Action.

Although homelessness may not be readily apparent in our community, it is a very real problem affecting an estimated 250 people in Jefferson City and more in Cole County.

And homelessness affects both men and women, young and old.

Jefferson City’s public schools employ a family school advocate to visit students to make sure they have basic needs, including shoes, clothing and hygiene products.

The Veterans Administration operates a program, Health Care for Homeless Veterans, to assist veterans with substance abuse counseling, mental health services and job skills training.

And Jobpoint, a not-for-profit employment center, provides job opportunities and training for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

Organizers of the event were pleased with its success and plan to host another in the fall. Organizations or individuals who would like to donate or participate may call Bunch at 636-5177.

Contributions and added participation not only will strengthen the event, they will strengthen the connection of delivering available resources to people who need them.

And that’s a problem-solving equation.

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