Project connects the poor to vital services

Nov 12, 2013

Billboard advertising a previous Project Connect event
Credit Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative

Many agencies offer help to people in the Kalamazoo area who are homeless or need help getting health care or food for their families. But if you’re poor, getting to those agencies can be a serious problem. To overcome that barrier, many agencies will gather in one place on Wednesday, November 13th, to make access much easier.

The event called “Project Connect” has been sponsored by the Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative twice a year in May and November since 2009. Project Connect Planning Team member Angela Anderson says the event this time will be from noon to 4 p.m. at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds Expo Center on Lake Street in Kalamazoo.

Angela Anderson, who’s also a community educator at Healthy Babies Healthy Start in Kalamazoo, says about 55 agencies and organizations will be on hand to help people find services ranging from housing and health care to food assistance and social services. The event is open to the general public but is targeted at those who are homeless, are uninsured, or under-insured. Anderson says there may be 50,000 people in those situations in the immediate Kalamazoo area alone and many times that number throughout southwestern Michigan. Anderson says up to a thousand people get services at each Project Connect event. Since the program began she says the Poverty Reduction Initiatives estimates that more than 12,000 people have received help getting services they need.