Tuesday, February 3, 2015

UAA community volunteers at Project Homeless Connect 2015

UAA student volunteers from Dr. Sharon Chamard's JUST 490 class - front row left to right:
Dr. Chamard, Lakedria Hall, Adler Yambao. Back row l to r: Daniel Reinhard, Russell Baluyut,
Ryan Jakubek, Jordan Oberlander. Not pictured Coy Hill.
Members of the UAA community volunteered at the 13th Annual Anchorage Project Homeless Connect (PHC) held at the Egan Center on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.  The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness presents this day-long program with the help of community sponsors and volunteers. The goal is to move our community closer to ending homelessness.

Among UAA community volunteers for the 2015 PHC were Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice Center faculty and students from her JUST 490 Homelessness & Crime class - Russell Baluyut, Lakedria Hall, Coy Hill, Ryan Jakubek, Jordan Oberlander, Daniel Reinhard, and Adler Yambao; Barbara Armstrong, editor, Alaska Justice Forum, Justice Center; and Heather MacAlpine, Justice alum and Municipality of Anchorage Associate Ombudsman.

This event brings together service providers and government agencies under one roof to assist homeless persons in identifying their top 3 issues of concern, and then links individuals with the appropriate provider. Services provided included haircuts, health exams, legal services, housing and employment information, and referrals to mental health and substance abuse counseling.

Hospitality is an important part of the day and a lunch is served to attendees.  As they leave the event, participants are offered canned food items, fresh produce, and clothing to take with them.  Similar programs are presented in cities across the United States.

At the Municipality of Anchorage Emergency Operation Center, volunteers
entered information about PHC clients including demographics, duration of
homelessness, and other details to assist service providers and public agencies.
(Photo by Judith Atkins, Municipality of Anchorage)
The initial interview with each attendee also presents an opportunity for collecting information about who is homeless and why.  These data are aggregated and provide a tool to assist service providers and government agencies in policy making and structuring services.

Preliminary estimates show several hundred individuals and families were served on January 28, and over 200 volunteers assisted. The data for the final report for this event will be tabulated over the next several weeks.