Project Connect helps get services to the poor

May 6, 2013

A haircut at Project Connect in November 2011
Credit Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative

If you’re poor in Kalamazoo County, getting vital social services can be a challenge. It’s even harder if you don’t have a car. But twice a year, Project Connect helps low-income residents get the services they need through one-stop shopping. The next one will be on Wednesday, May 8th, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Kalamazoo County Expo Center at the county fairgrounds, 2900 Lake Street.

Project Connect is coordinated by the Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative. Executive Director Patrick Naswell says it is offered each year in May and November. Low- and moderate-income people, including the homeless, can get a variety of services with one stop. Naswell says they include everything from blood pressure checks and haircuts to help getting state Bridge food assistance cards and shelter for victims of domestic violence and abuse. Legal assistance, help with housing, and vision screening are among other services available.

Even with transportation, Naswell says it’s hard for people to get more than one service a day on their own. He says nearly a thousand people turned out for Project Connect in November 2012, along with 53 human service agencies. Besides helping those in need, Naswell says Project Connect also helps raise public awareness of the extent of poverty and homelessness in Kalamazoo County.

Call (269) 615-2001 or visit the Poverty Reduction Initiative’s Web page for more information.