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Organizers expect large crowd at annual event for homeless

Organizers are expecting a larger turnout at this year’s Project Homeless Connect on Wednesday, thanks to the still lousy economy.

The event, now in its 20th year, aims to help thousands of the valley’s homeless find housing, jobs and services to put them back on the path to self-sufficiency.

Last year’s event drew about 3,500 people.

This year, organizers are expecting 4,500 to show up, said Michele Fuller-Hallauer , Continuum of Care coordinator for the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition’s Committee on Homelessness.

“With the continuation of the economic decline, we anticipate that we’re going to have more newly homeless folks on the streets,” she said.

Those who are new to homelessness face special challenges, she said.

“They haven’t had to rely on social systems before and they don’t know where to go; what to do. This is a targeted way for them to get connected to services,” she said.

Hundreds of volunteers will help set up, take down and work Project Homeless Connect, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North.

The event brings together dozens of city, county and social service agencies that help the homeless. The Nevada Homeless Alliance and the Committee on Homelessness coordinate it.

Attendees can get free food and clothing, haircuts, housing referrals, job placement assistance and legal services.

“On one day, it allows us to offer a one-stop shop for homeless services,” Fuller-Hallauer said.

The event used to be called Stand Down for the Homeless, but was renamed several years ago to tie into the national Project Homeless Connect, a model program that has been adopted by cities across the United States.

An estimated 13,300 homeless people live in the Las Vegas Valley.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.

 

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