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Nov5ThuBiannual event helps at-risk individuals access many services in one location. November 5, 2015
Edmonton's homeless and at-risk residents came out for the 15th Homeless Connect at the Shaw Conference Centre in October. With an increasing number of attendees every year, this biannual event has become the epicentre for connecting social services with Edmonton's most vulnerable residents.
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- Territorial News
The Salvation Army's local community and family services, addictions and residential centre and Crossroads Community Church participated in the event, along with more than 60 different services and 300 volunteers. More than 2,100 guests came through the doors, exceeding expectations.
“This is a great event for the community because there are no hoops or applications, just access to services that they choose without barriers,” says Captain Mark Stanley, executive director of the addictions and residential centre. “It's not just about services that deal with homelessness and poverty but also services that make people feel good about themselves.”
Such services included haircuts, professional photos, legal advice, tax services, dental and eye care, immunization, massages, pre-natal services, counselling, manicures and laundry.
The Army's emergency disaster services vehicle was also on hand, serving hot chocolate as hundreds of people lined up hours before the doors opened to the public.
The Army handed out socks, underwear and protein bars, along with information about housing, addiction programs, women's outreach ministries and social justice programs.
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of support in one place, in one day,” says Major Carolyn Hale, executive director of community and family services. “This is a community that comes together to treat vulnerable people like a king or queen for a day.”
“It's a positive experience for everyone who comes out,” concludes Captain Stanley.