Scott-Carver’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness Starts with Project Community Connect

Posted by on November 9, 2011

Child & Teen Checkup Providers

Scott-Carver Project Community Connect-When you toss a pebble into a pond, you often do not know how far your ripples will spread. When you reach out a helping hand to those in need, you never really know the impact you will make.

 What is known is that, based on a 2009 survey Heading Home Scott-Carver (http://www.minnesotahousing.com/idc/groups/multifamily/documents/webcontent/mhfa_009624.pdf), some of our neighbors slept on couches, in storage units, in cars, in campers and at friend’s houses last night. Clearly that is unacceptable, especially when we have the resources and services to help.

The difficult part is matching those in need with available services, and that is why Scott-Carver Project Community Connect (PCC) was born. PCC provides a central location, or one-stop shop, to match those “living on little” with resources and services that can mean the difference between despair and hope.

 When planning a large outreach event such as this, it is hard to gauge how many people will walk through the door. A young woman came, holding one toddler by the hand, an infant on her hip. A middle-aged man came, wearing a cot on his back. Some came without a solid grasp of the English language. Some came, dressed in their best, looking for a job. Guests came on foot, in cars, trucks, vans, SmartLink buses…they were greeted with a big smile, “how can I help you?” and an invitation to enjoy coffee and pastries.

Volunteer guides were matched with each individual who then conducted an oral interview, trying to determine exactly what services were needed most. Did they need medical attention? Legal advice? Immunizations? Domestic or sexual violence resources? Benefits? Employment? Birth certificates? Child support? Lunch?

Once their needs were identified, the guide walked them to one of the 87 service providers, explained their situation and let the service provider take it from there. Scott County Child Support, MN Department of Public Safety, Voter Registration, ARC Greater Twin Cities, CAP Agency (Child Care, Energy, and Food), Loaves and Fishes, Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women…the list goes on. Each organization was there to listen and give information and assistance on how to receive help.

 One empty space at Shakopee Town Square Mall was converted in to a hair salon. Fifteen volunteer hair stylists from Great Clips-Savage, Allure Salon and Purcell’s served a steady stream of clients. At the end of the day more than 40 work hours had been donated, 152 free haircuts given and more than $3000 worth of services.

 The mall corridor was converted in to a cafeteria, where 667 lunches, lovingly assembled at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Shakopee, were given out to guests, guides and providers.

 Classrooms at the Minnesota School of Business-Shakopee simulated a vaccine clinic, a law office, a pediatric dental facility, a day-care center, and private medical suites. The Mdewakanton Sioux brought their giant mobile medical unit and conducted free mammograms.

 Here’s Scott-Carver Project Community Connect by the numbers…

400 individuals served, 87 service providers, 93 volunteers, 667 lunches, 152 free haircuts, 87 vaccinations, 60 job applications submitted, 59 legal consultations, 52 birth certificates, 29 ID license vouchers given, 52 received info on benefits, 35 professional photographs, 25 vouchers for car seats (and 1 installed), 24 vision exams, 11 physicals, and 2 hot showers.

 Here’s Scott-Carver Project Community Connect by the human impact…

 A middle-aged woman with a neatly combed bob, wearing a warm winter jacket, made this comment, “This is a lot of work, getting everyone together like this,” she said. “But I have come so far from last year,” she continued, “thanks to all of you.”

She was referring to last year’s PCC, which was held at Canterbury Park.  Suddenly I had a flash of recognition and thought, “I remember you. You were the disheveled lady who walked through the door, tears rolling down your cheeks, carrying a bag with your worldly belongings in it.” She had made an emotional impact on many volunteers then, and now, here she was, looking so much healthier and happier.

 Go on. Throw your pebble. Reach out a helping hand.


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