Homeless Connect Day Shares Vital Resources

José Librao is styling clients Victor Kamont at the LA County Courthouse for the Homeless Connect Day on Thursday, Dec 5.

For some, a backpack is an accessory—but for others, a backpack may be their whole life. Last week, backpacks containing socks, toiletries, clothing and other necessities for everyday life were given at the old LA County Courthouse during Homeless Connect Day on Thursday, Dec 5. 

Individuals experiencing homelessness were provided with free services including health and medical services, legal assistance, Department of Motor Vehicle services and more at the yearly event.

While every attendant enjoyed a free meal, various nonprofit organizations and volunteers such as Venice Family Clinic provided primary health care exams, dental cleanings and assistance with health insurance enrollment. 

Volunteer Carol Hahn thinks these programs are crucial and said they should be presented more frequently. 

“I am taking some time to volunteer and help when I can,” Hahn said. “It’s not just items; it’s the services and the paperwork and navigating the system we all have to go through. There are different degrees [of] homelessness and different situations, trying to help solve the problem one person at a time.”

Hahn said events like this help individuals with not just clothing, but with their identity. 

“They have lost touch with reality and they get so far gone, that things like a driver’s license or ID cards benefit them,” Hahn said.

Well over a dozen service agencies attended this year, including the DMV giving photo IDs free of charge; however, the mobile shower station that appeared in past years was unavailable this year. 

Farrer attended the event to volunteer and help those navigate the services available to them.

“I choose to do this on my own, not as mayor, but as a resident—as someone who wants to volunteer,” Farrer said. “The city does publicize the event, but I think a lot of people that find out is through word of mouth. I was sorry to see the shower truck was not able to be here; typically it is.”

Executive Director for Hope Mill, Inc. Pearl Huber said the organization’s table drew a large crowd with its care packs filled with food, water, clothing, a blanket and personal care items.

At the end of the booths, attendees were sharing their stories while receiving a free haircut.

Scott Edens, case manager for E6 street-based outreach and north quadrant lead for St. Joseph Center, said they were offering services and programs for individuals in need of assistance from documentation to a food pantry.

“We’re trying to get people connected, where they’re not connected,” Edens said. “People have a hard time taking the steps to get to the next step in lives, and so we come out and help them get to the next step, in order to hopefully increase a better quality of life.”