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Project Homeless Connect offers services to low-income community members

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 25 2014 03:41:04 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 25 2014 03:44:47 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition hosted their 6th annual "Project Homeless Connect" on Saturday in Bozeman.

It's a one stop shop for low income individuals to receive services that may not normally have access to.

"My main goal was to get some eye care, medical insurance information, and some childcare information," said Carl Haugen, who came with his wife and three children to the event.

They joined more than one hundred others Saturday morning in a packed church basement for Project Homeless Connect.

Haugen explained he blown away by all the help that was offered, and the people there to give it.

"It means a lot for these guys to come and set up and take the time out of their own lives to help this community," he explained,

"It's an amazing community event that is for helping those who are homeless, those who are at risk of homeless, those in crisis," explained Sara Savage with the Human Resource Development Council.

The Homeless Connect Program offers opportunities for homeless and low income families in the Gallatin Valley to get services such as free hair cuts, free clothes, free food, free dog food, and much more.

"Some of the biggest draws are those services that can be really cost prohibitive for those who are living in poverty," Savage explained.

"I'm very new to the area," said Lyle Anderson. He's homeless and recently moved to Bozeman, hoping for a chance to get back on his feet.

"I'm trying to get integrated into and connected with what's around me and looking for employment," he said.

He explained this event was just what he needed.

"Whenever you have people within a community struggling for those who are able to help those who are willing and wanting true help, a hand up rather than a hand out, it strengthens the whole," he explained. "There's a synergistic effect that takes place."

The program doesn't just benefit those in crisis, but impacts the volunteers as well.

"My eyes are just opened," said Loren Casten, an MSU student volunteering for a class project. "These were normal people and bad things happen to them or circumstances. They could be anyone, and so they really deserve respect and your time."

Event organizers told NBC Montana that at any given time, there are more than 100 homeless households in the Gallatin Valley.

To learn more about this event, and the Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition, visit http://gghac.wordpress.com/project-homeless-connect/