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COLUMBIA - One Columbia organization will offer homeless people an opportunity to get back on their feet on Thursday morning.

Project Homeless Connect serves as a "one-stop-shop" for people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers provide people access to housing, food clothing donations, and employment resources.

"The event for people who are literally homeless, so they are staying in a place not meant for human habitation," the program's volunteer coordinator, Layla Padgett, said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of people in Boone County are homeless. That is higher than the national poverty rate, which is 14 percent.

Missouri saw a spike in temperatures in the month of July, with one excessive heat warning in the books. Padgett said they always see more people in the summer months.

"In the winter we had about 150-or-so. This summer we are expecting around 200, probably," she said.

As of 2017, Boone County has one of the highest homeless populations in Missouri.

Padgett said Columbia has rallied around the homeless in comparison to other communities.

"I've lived in other places and the community hasn't come together in this kind of way before," she said. "I think that's really amazing."

A group of volunteers said it is hard to get the word to the homeless population because it is all by word-of-mouth. But Padgett said the Columbia homeless community looks out for one another.

"The homeless community is pretty close-knit a lot of the time. We have one day center, so you kind of get to know people who are out on the streets, as well," she said.

Project Homeless Connect will open the doors to the community on Thursday, August 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m at the MU Family Impact Center.

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