ESCONDIDO — About 200 people are expected to take advantage of on-site services and referrals provided at the Homeless Connection resource fair Nov. 15.
“It’s an attempt to connect homeless individuals with services that will improve their quality of life,” Rachel Greenberg, project assistant for Interfaith Community Services, said. “Services they might not be able to access.”
The day will also collect data for the homeless vulnerability index that gathers information on the risk level of area homeless and helps pinpoint who has an immediate need for services. Factors, including health and age, are taken into consideration.
“The vulnerability index gathers information on the most vulnerable among the homeless population, so resources can support priority for housing and other attention,” Greenberg said.
There are an estimated 1,770 homeless individuals in North County and that number is growing. The homeless population includes people of all ages and backgrounds.
The good news is Interfaith Community Services and other organizations are taking steps to end the problem of homelessness.
Interfaith Community Services runs an emergency winter shelter at 550 W. Washington Avenue that houses 40 men and women from December through March.
The Homeless Connection resource fair is another effort to address the problem of homelessness. Its purpose is to connect homeless individuals with needed resources.
“A lot of the resource agencies address barriers relevant to homeless individuals achieving self-sufficiency,” Greenberg said. “The first contact can make a big difference. Often people don’t know where to go for help.”
On-site services during the resource fair include medical checkups, flu shots, dental screening and HIV testing. There will also be referrals to food assistance programs, housing opportunities, job readiness training and legal counseling, among other services.
“We have quite a lot of agencies coming in,” Greenberg said. “Doctors will give basic physicals, an HIV team will give HIV testing, vet (veterinarian) services will provide pet care for homeless individuals who have pets.”
The event hopes to address some of the immediate overlapping needs of homeless individuals.
Area support agencies are also looking at how to provide permanent solutions.
“Regionally a lot of organizations are doing a lot,” Greenberg said. “They are following the new best practice ideas to provide permanent resources. We need some kind of permanent housing solution. As a region everyone is working to address that.”
The Homeless Connection resource fair will be held at 550 W. Washington Avenue.
Volunteers are still needed for the event. For more information contact Rachel Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.