Project Homeless Connect Omaha provides much needed services

Posted: March 9, 2010 in Events, homelessness
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Project Homeless Connect Omaha provides our brothers and sisters living on the streets access to much-needed services in one location in one day.

While Creighton has been noted recently for joining the worldwide relief efforts in Haiti, bringing medical care to the victims of the earthquake, Project Homeless Connect Omaha is a visible manifestation of their ongoing commitment to those in need locally.

Led by the Rev. John P. Schlegel, who is president of Creighton University, The March 26th community-wide event fits with Creighton’s commitment to the city of Omaha and their Jesuit mission of service to others. Students, alumni, faculty and staff are actively engaged in the community and are dedicated to its betterment — whether assisting the homeless, providing health care or professional services or volunteering with local agencies.

Offices such as the Creighton Center for Service and Justice encourages students to participate in community service, to reflect on their experiences and to act to seek a more just world.

More than 1,000 volunteers have learned about homelessness in Omaha and, undoubtedly, have shared those experiences with others.

Volunteers have found that for many, the day is an eye-opening, life-changing experience. This is the desired outcome for students as well as those in the community when an event such as Project Homeless Connect Omaha is promoted.

Project Homeless Connect Omaha has surpassed the expectations of many. It has raised awareness of the homelessness in our community, and it has encouraged other communities to hold similar events.

Project Homeless Connect Omaha, while supported by the Creighton community, is not a “Creighton-only” event. The nursing programs of Metropolitan Community College, Iowa Western Community College and Nebraska Wesleyan University help provide health care. Bellevue University provides the Web site and the executive director of the event. The City of Omaha, Douglas County and the State of Nebraska provide medical tests and vaccinations.

Xenon International Academy has provided more than 600 haircuts. Subway, Sodexo, Godfather’s and retail meat dealers provide food on the day of the event. Corporate support comes from a number of sources, including Fred Simon, Gail Werner-Robertson, the Iowa West Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, the Omaha Downtown Improvement District, Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska, the United Way and Zaiss & Co.

This far-reaching outreach has grown and developed into a well-managed and successful Omaha event and is now recognized as one of the top homeless events in the country. It is something in which our community can take great pride.

However, this year is already proving to be difficult for many of our homeless neighbors and service providers. There is a serious lack of housing; in fact, there are waiting lists for housing with the city, county and at our shelters. Because there are so many newly homeless, we are reaching a critical point in our ability to serve everyone living on the streets.

Therefore, we are reaching out to the rest of the communities in the area to join Creighton University this year on March 26th in supporting and providing the assistance necessary to take this event beyond all  expectations in providing care to our homeless neighbors.

To get involved, please visit the Project Homeless Connect Omaha Web site,

www.homelessconnectomaha.org

Together, we can make a positive difference in our community.

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