‘Project Homeless Connect’ aims to give hope to the homeless

Project Homeless Connect in Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Today people in need flocked to a one day, one-stop-shop for resources.  It is part of Project Homeless Connect, where people who are homeless can get free health screenings, haircuts and more.

Events took place today in both Norfolk and Newport News.  In Newport News, the focus today was on getting resources to single, homeless adults.  Organizers say that group often gets overlooked.

10 On Your Side spoke with one man who says if it weren’t for the city’s resources, he would’ve been on the streets.

“It means a lot,” said Julius Mitchell, who lives in Newport News and attended Project Homeless Connect for the second time.  “It helped me a lot, from health, to I mean, it hits every corner of aspects of life.”

Three years ago, Mitchell’s mom passed away and he was almost on the streets.  That’s when he found the Newport News Department of Human Services.

“We’re all here for the same cause, to help end homelessness,” said Syretta Williams, who is a housing specialist with the Dept. of Human Services.  She says the city brought Project Homeless Connect to the Peninsula, after seeing its success in Norfolk.

Williams said, “A lot of times it’s hard for the homeless to get health care, to get eye screenings, eyeglasses, mental health services, so I just hope that the people today that are coming, they can actually get the services that they need.”

The event is held in conjunction with the annual Point-In-Time count of the homeless population.

“They will go under the bridges, they will go in the woods, they will go wherever it is that they need to go to be able to do an accurate, as accurate as possible count,” said Darryle Brown, who is the chair of the Greater Virginia Peninsula Homelessness Consortium, which coordinates the count.  They use those numbers to get more resources to help more people.

Brown said, “I think that our concept of people who find themselves in a homeless situation, and a lot of people say well it’s their fault.  So I think we shouldn’t look at it like that, we should look at it like how can we help.”

The next Project Homeless Connect is tomorrow from 8 a.m. until noon at Virginia Beach United Methodist Church, 212 19th Street.