Log in

Preparations being made for Jan. 25 Project Homeless Connect


The yearly Project Homeless Connect event, an outreach service day to put the area's unhoused and unsheltered into contact with assistance agencies and one-day services like medical care, haircuts and help with food and clothing, will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25 at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.

Anyone living in Howell, Douglas, Ozark, Oregon, Texas, Shannon and surrounding counties is eligible to participate. The event is connected with the annual statewide point in time (PIT) count of the unsheltered, to take place beginning at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 and continuing overnight until 7 a.m. the next day.

The numbers from that count will be submitted to the Missouri Balance of State Continuum of Care, a group of agencies within the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designated region that is devoted to ending homelessness.

Ozark Action Region 8 Coordinated Entry Lead Sharon Cobb emphasized the importance of an accurate count of the unhoused, as funding for services is based upon need. Volunteers will conduct the overnight count and direct individuals to the services provided at the Homeless Connect Event.

"We don't turn anyone away," she added.

Beyond meeting immediate and basic needs like giveaways of food, clothing and hygiene items, representatives will also be on hand to assist in securing documentation necessary for employment or social services including getting a birth certificate, identification or a Social Security number, and applying for Medicare, Medicaid, income-based housing or other services.

Last year there were 35 vendors at Project Homeless Connect, and there will be 40 this year, Cobb said. She encourages all to spread the word and let anyone they know who is unsheltered to attend, noting an increase of 33% in homelessness in the state during the 2022 to 2023 counting period.

Agencies and volunteers wanting to participate or donate items may contact Cindy Brower at Ozark Action by emailing cbrower@oaiwp.org.

Items needed are feminine hygiene products, Ziploc bags, disposable razors, washcloths, pillows, white socks, white T-shirts, hand warmers, blankets, hats, winter gloves, manual can openers, tents, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and laundry pods.