MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Hundreds of Milwaukee’s homeless had an opportunity to be connected with available resources on Thursday, October 17th at Marquette University. Thursday’s event was touted as a sort of “one-stop-shop” for the homeless. It was an effort to help them with basic needs, and help them to find permanent housing via Project Homeless Connect.
Project Homeless Connect is a national movement that focuses on ending homelessness. The Homeless Connect model has a proven track record of success in several cities nationwide including several comparable to Milwaukee. It has helped thousands of families and individuals find pathways out of homelessness.
In the comfort of a makeshift salon, Bernard Gould took a few minutes to relax Thursday and get a trim.
“I been here all my life just about — you know, off and on,” Gould said.
Gould has seen hard times — especially over the last few years.
“Work got real slow and so therefore — my financial problems, I was unable to pay some of the bills and that’s what had me being homeless,” Gould said.
Unfortunately, there are many in Milwaukee who are homeless.
“Project Homeless Connect is a one-stop resource for individuals who are homeless,” Steven Mahan with Project Homeless Connect said.
On Thursday, more than 170 volunteers helped to reach out to some of the city’s homeless. Project Homeless Connect covers everything from vision, dental and health assessments.
“A number of clinics that are for health that are dealing with STDs, diabetes — also screening for cholesterol. A lot of these individuals have not seen a doctor in a number of years,” Mahan said.
Also available was an on-site job fair and other resources.
Mahan says the goal is to see some of the city’s homeless moving to transitional and then permanent housing.
That is the step Gould is trying to make. He has had his on transitional apartment for the last year-and-a-half, after spending months not knowing where he would stay at night.
“Sometimes I’d be out here on the streets and some weeks I’d be in the hotel — back and forth, back and forth, back and forth — but it’s all about survival,” Gould said.
Mahan says they track participants after they leave to see what services they’re utilizing. He says they measure success by the number of people who have access to benefits.
This is the fourth year that the event to benefit the city’s homeless has been offered.