Reflections on Project Homeless Connect

By Janet Runbeck, RN, MN

An elderly man who is nearly blind was able to get help to have cataract surgery. A 50-ish man, who lost his job and then his home, got his hypertension medicine refilled. A young woman with painful feet got a pair of shoes without holes. As one of the hundreds of volunteers and staff, I am proud to say we connected people in need at Project Homeless Connect (PHC).

I am proud to work with caring people, who by working shoulder to shoulder, saw a need we could meet by working together. Who knows which of us were more blessed that day; the givers or the receivers?

I was able to volunteer at PHC from the beginning, 2007, until 2013, mostly in the health care services. As an eyewitness to the plight of those who experience homelessness, PHC was the catalyst by which I became an advocate. Academics will teach about the consequences of worsening social determinants of health. Social workers will attempt to alleviate the pain of the poor. But PHC is the platform where the reality of poverty and barriers to healthy living are in full view.It is clear to me that the only difference between me as a volunteer, and the woman standing in line to get services, is sheer luck. The good fortune that is mine is also a mandate that makes me want to work within systems that have proven to be effective in resolving the complexities of homelessness.

Now, our good fortune is that Associated Ministries has taken on the work of PHC. Let us be supportive of AM, as we continue to define the barriers of housing for all. Let us connect at PHC in 2019.

You can learn more by visiting Project Homeless Connect online.

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