The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 29, 2014

VIDEO: Project Connect offers services for Joplin homeless

Services that could help make life a little easier for Joplin’s homeless residents were available Wednesday at Project Homeless Connect, part of the local Point-In-Time Count that takes place across the state.

“Twice a year we count the homeless,” said Robin Smith of the Economic Security Corp., a community action agency that serves low-income residents in Jasper, Newton, Barton and McDonald counties. “It is required that we do that for grants. It also is to bring awareness to homelessness.”

The survey provides the number of homeless people so that agencies such the Economic Security Corp., the Salvation Army and Lafayette House can report the numbers in grant applications seeking funds to provide housing, meals and other assistance to those without permanent homes.

“We’re counting everyone today, the sheltered, the unsheltered and those who come to Connect,” said Tammy Roberts of the ESC.

She said social service workers on Wednesday morning scoured the city to find camps where homeless people may have been staying and count them.

Few were found; most apparently had already gone to the Salvation Army for a meal or had checked in at Project Connect, held at Central Christian Center, 410 S. Virginia Ave., Roberts said.

In addition to the counting of those living in tents or abandoned buildings and those at Connect, surveys were sent to homeless shelters so that they could list their numbers for the count. Roberts said questions are asked about each of the people reported so that no one is counted twice.

Numbers from counts in the field, the event at Project Connect and the surveys will be tallied, with a total to be announced in about two weeks.

Surveys were sent to emergency shelters including Souls Harbor, the Neosho Crosslines Guest House, the Carthage Crisis Center and Children’s Haven, as well as transitional housing providers such as Lafayette House, The House Inc., the ESC and the Salvation Army.

A number of agencies were represented at Connect. Information could be obtained about getting a job through the Missouri Career Center, and about education programs such as Adult Education and Literacy, and Vatterott College. Cosmetology students at Vatterott gave free haircuts.

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