Event provides badly needed services to low-income
EVERETT - Michelle Dauncey couldn’t be happier.
She got a haircut, a manicure, new shoes and her two dogs got baths in one busy afternoon.
All of the services the Snohomish woman received were free. She was one of the 1,200-plus people to come to Project Homeless Connect, an annual event at Everett’s Cascade High School for low-income individuals.
It was the first haircut Dauncey’s had in almost two years. She learned about Project Homeless Connect through the Snohomish Food Bank, where she goes for food.
The Thursday, June 27 event included 77 service organizations, free dental work, a lunch and, for the first time in Project Homeless Connect’s history, new shoes.
Seattle-based nonprofit Redeeming Soles brought 1,200 pairs of new adult running shoes, but ran into a snag: There were no shoes for the 120-plus kids at the event. Nonprofit director Jessica Reasy said Redeeming Soles will be giving away kids shoes in the early afternoon on Saturday, July 6 at the Everett Gospel Mission, 3711 Smith Ave.
Volunteers said the long line for dental work began before 7 a.m. People wanted to get there early because dental work was on a first come, first serve basis. This event may be one of the rare chances low-income adults get to see a dentist.
The state Department of Social and Human Services cut most dental work, including dentures, from Medicaid in 2011 due to budget cuts.
Almost every one of the 75-plus clients had severely decayed teeth, said Lucy Rios, dental services manager for the Community Health Center of Snohomish County.
“Everyone, everyone is in desperate need of dental,” Rios said.
Nine people were called in for follow-up appointments on Friday.
Clint W., a 35-year-old Mountlake Terrace man who declined to give his last name, waited for four and a half hours to see a dentist.
He was trying to get a back molar pulled that’s plagued him for six months. The pain robbed him of being able to eat his favorite cereals and ice cream.
Clint’s working to become drug-free, but the painkillers he takes for his teeth are not helping, he said.
Denturists Jeff Fjeld and Renee Schwarzmiller of Daedalus Denture Concepts brought their entire laboratory to the event to create about eight denture partials for people.
“It’s much needed,” Fjeld said. “There’s a huge demand.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Collins of Everett loved her new shoes. She pulled out her old pair, which was worn beyond repair.
“They feel good,” Collins said with a smile.
She walks five miles a day or more to get to her drug and alcohol rehabilitation meetings.
Her mom, Geneva Marie Rocco, loves her new apartment in Lake Stevens. Rocco was laid off as a sheet metal fabricator and was living in transitional housing when she spoke with the Tribune at last year’s Project Homeless Connect. A housing organization got her a new place to live.
“It’s so peaceful, not being around a bunch of other people,” Rocco said. Two years ago she was at the Everett Women’s Gospel Mission shelter.
More than 130 pets got baths, worming and other services from the Everett Animal Shelter at the event.
Dauncey said her two dogs got “the best services ever.”
And Dauncey’s haircut?
“I can’t wait to see what my boyfriend’s reaction will be,” the 44-year-old said.
At the event, people received vision care, medical checkups, housing assistance, mental health help and other services.
After touring the services, clients were given backpacks filled with toiletries. Volunteers handed out about 945 backpacks. Two weeks before, volunteers were short 500 backpacks. A company pulled through with 700 backpacks, YWCA regional manager Mary Anne Dillon said.
Snohomish County’s annual Point in Time homeless count found 1,996 people in 1,151 households without a permanent place to stay. An estimated 757 were homeless children, 99 were homeless veterans, and 427 said they were victims of domestic violence, up from 363 domestic violence victims counted last year.
By the numbers:
• Registered participants: 1,202
• Pairs of shoes given out: 1,200
• Backpacks given: 941
• Meals served: 1,200
• Haircuts provided: 267
• Vision: 250 screenings
• Pets serviced: 132 (cats and dogs)
• Health screenings: 30 screened for Hepatitis C and HIV
• Immunizations given: 95-110 other immunizations
• Child care: 50 kids were cared for during the day
Project Homeless Connect
Check out our online Publications!