Free health and social services available to homeless

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COLUMBIA— Twice a year, homeless people in Columbia can get a variety of services for free thanks to volunteers from all over town.

Project Homeless Connect is held at the Family Impact Center. 

The project allows homeless people in Columbia to pick up clothing and hygiene supplies, register to vote, get an ID and even receive health services like checkups and blood tests.

The event is funded through donations and volunteers from local non-profit organizations and private businesses work as staff.

Event co-chair Mark Kirchhoff said all the help offered is meaningful.

“There are definitely individuals that have reached out to us wanting to help which is unbelievable, we’ve got a lot of community support,” Kirchhoff said.

According to the Columbia-Boone County Basic Needs Coalition, there are over 200 people considered homeless living in Boone County.

Kirchhoff said he expects more than 100 individuals to attend Project Homeless Connect based on attendance over the previous years.

Kirchhoff said the event is not just about providing basic services to homeless people, but also educating the rest of the community.

“There is a lot of stigma behind it, being labeled as homeless, but our jobs as service providers is to really try and chip away at the stigma around that term,” Kirchhoff said.

He also said people interested in helping are welcome to come to Project Homeless Connect to volunteer or donate to organizations like United Way and Missouri Pay It Forward.

The event will last from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Family Impact Center.

Project Homeless Connect first began in San Francisco in 2004. This event is held every year during January and July.