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Non-profit aims to end homelessness in Maricopa County

The program, Project Connect, offers resources to those trying to secure permanent housing.

PHOENIX — It’s been a tough road for Glady Clark this past year.

Her full-time job hasn’t been enough to make ends meet as the price of everything keeps rising. For six months, Glady has been living out of her car. 

Friday provided her with the first steps toward getting into permanent housing.

“It has been wonderful,” said Clark of Project Connect. “I've connected with a young lady and on Monday, she's supposed to be helping me with housing. “

Project Connect is an event hosted by the Human Services Campus, a collection of 16 organizations that offer resources to end homelessness in Maricopa County. HSC takes its show on the road, bringing those resources closer to where the community is struggling.

“It's a healthy way to connect people to things that they might need to address their homelessness or if they're at risk of homelessness, connect them to some services that might be able to help them maintain the housing that they already have,” said Amy Schwabenlender, the Executive Director of HSC.

The program helps with housing and emergency shelter, job services, State benefits, and medical care. Each client is paired with an advisor to walk the client through the process of receiving services.

Volunteers from the Homeless ID Project took part to help those who needed it to regain identification paperwork that has been lost or stolen.

“The truth is that things can get really complicated really fast,” said Eric Ortega, of the Homeless ID Project. “A lot of forensic work sometimes comes into play.”

It’s not uncommon for those experiencing homelessness to lose important documents, Ortega said. Sometimes they get left in a confiscated vehicle or hotel room, sometimes they get stolen. Whatever the case, it is impossible to rebuild a life without identification.

“Most housing programs out there are going to require identification documents, like Birth Certificates and IDs,” Ortega said. “Anybody knows that if you're looking for work, that's one of the first things that employers will ask you for as well. Getting services like food stamps, medical insurance, all those other things really rely on having those documents in place.”

“We really feel good at the end of the day, though, if our guests are leaving feeling like they've accomplished what they needed to do all in one day.” Said Schawbenlender.

For Glady Clark, this day brings her closer to her goal of getting out of her car and into a permanent housing situation.

“It has been wonderful,” Clark said. “I've connected with a young lady and on Monday she's supposed to be helping me with housing. So, it's been great. I've met a lot of people, and been able to connect with them. The resources and the services are beautiful. Thank you all and God bless. Amen!”

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