Volunteer Hattiesburg hosts 2nd Annual 'Project Homeless Connect'

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Volunteer Hattiesburg hosted its 2nd Annual 'Project Homeless Connect' event at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club Monday morning.

Around 30 local non-profit organizations provided resources to the Pine Belt homeless population.

Staci Cox with United Way of Southeast Mississippi said, "We have them all set up to come in and we try to get as many homeless people to come in so they can get resources and get more information.”

The city of Hattiesburg's Homeless Coordination Kim Townsend said there are more homeless people than the city expected. Townsend said last year the city believed there were around 160 located in Hattiesburg.

Townsend said the city is working hard to end homelessness. "Recently in August, we started a rapid response, outreach team, and so we are actually going into the encampments and encountering people that are on the street" said Townsend.

She continued, "We are doing vulnerability surveys on them and trying to get them into housing as quickly as possible.”

A local homeless man, Eddie West, said the event is beneficial for him. West added, "This is very educational, I learned a lot of programs that I did not know existed."

West said he is happy to see multiple organizations care about the homeless population.

"I took away a whole bunch of caring, I know people care, now I see how people care for each other and that means a lot' said West.

He said, "Most of the people here are volunteers and that shows caring for itself."

Volunteer Hattiesburg said they will continue to serve the city's homeless population, they plan for a 3rd annual event next year.

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