Needs of homeless focus of event today in Medford

Project Homeless Connect, Jackson County's annual, one-stop event for homeless people and those at risk will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway, Medford.

Volunteers from more than 40 community organizations will take part.

The event includes a hot lunch, access to essential services and free, helpful items to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

A recent "point-in-time" survey by the Jackson County Community Services Consortium and Homeless Task Force identified 1,049 homeless people in Jackson County, which is a 16 percent increase since 2009. Thirty percent of the homeless are children.

"We cannot sit by idly as fellow Oregonians struggle on a daily basis just to meet the most basic of needs," said State Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, in a press release for the event.

"Project Homeless Connect's success in years past represents a significant achievement in the ongoing fight against homelessness."

The goal of the event is to connect the community to the issue of homelessness and reconnect the homeless and those at risk to essentials such as medical care, substance abuse and mental health counseling, housing referrals, shelter and other support services. Anyone interested in attending the event is invited.

Project Homeless Connect is organized by the Jackson County Community Services Consortium and Homeless Task Force in partnership with many organizations.

"This volunteer effort began locally in 2009 and has grown significantly in a short period of time," said Ed Angeletti, ACCESS planning director. "We are pleased to be able to partner with different agencies to offer this event. The success of Project Homeless Connect is contingent upon the community joining together to positively affect the lives of the homeless and vulnerable populations."

Donations can be mailed to Jackson County Community Services Consortium, P.O. Box 1087, Medford, OR 97501.

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