Dispensing hope and — maybe — a home


Honk if you ended homelessness today. These three, and many dozens more, did their part today in an extraordinary event in downtown St. Paul. Jim Anderson, is the chair of the Project Homeless Connect, which organized a one-stop spot (at St. Paul’s RiverCentre) for the homeless among us to get help.

“Our goal, when people come out the door at the end of the day, that they’re leaving either with their solutions in place, or a whole lot of hope that they didn’t have before they came in,” Anderson told me. (Listen to the entire interview)

For example?

“There was a gentleman needing a Spanish interpreter, who had been homeless about a year now and was able to make some connections that got him some mental health services that he needed and he’s gotten an appointment now for a housing opening,” Anderson said.

Rebecca Coke, left, from the University of St. Thomas, helped four homeless people and says she learned a lot from one in particular. “Laurie is from the Dorothy Day Center and has been chronically homeless for a long time. She is just so motivated toward going up and out of the rut that she’s in right now. She waited in line for dental services, a long time for a haircut. We did some foot care. We made appointments for her to go to, so she’s well on her way. It was nice to be a part of that,” she said. (Listen to the interview)

Leah Gardner, right, is the project coordinator for Fieldstone Alliance, says volunteers at the event on Tuesday met with each person and then helped them navigate all the service providers ranging from education to employment to health care to legal help. (Listen)

Not a bad day’s work.