Resource event for homeless draws hundreds to Golden Hall

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SAN DIEGO – The 10th Project Homeless Connect, a one-day resource event at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego for the region’s homeless population, attracted hundreds of people seeking help Wednesday.

“This is one of the singular most-positive events that happens every year,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

“This is a chance for all of our volunteers and so many of our fantastic service providers throughout the city to come and give people a little extra help, provide folks with services they need,” Faulconer said.

“And I think probably one of the most important things is to show that compassion San Diegans are known for,” he said. “It’s about treating people with dignity and respect, and helping people get off the street, and helping to change lives.”

At the event, which began at 9 a.m. and goes through 3 p.m., the area’s homeless can get a hot meal, receive such services as haircuts and legal help, and pick up donated items such as rain jackets, umbrellas, shoes, blankets and gloves.

Richard Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, said about 300 people were checked in during the first hour, and a line outside still stretched across the plaza of the Civic Center complex.

“I think what this indicates is two things — number one, a great need,” Gentry said. “I think the second thing you see is the wonderful, giving nature of ordinary San Diegans.”

Last year, 1,145 homeless people were served at Project Homeless Connect. More than 60 percent were living on the streets, vehicles or shelters; 58 percent were 51 years old or older; 79 percent were single; and 60 percent were men.

The event is organized by the commission, Father Joe’s Villages, Family Health Centers of San Diego and the Interfaith Shelter Network.

On Friday, volunteers are scheduled to make the annual count of homeless throughout the county.

The two events prompted the City Council to proclaim this Homelessness Action Week in San Diego.

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