Event Draws Hundreds of Homeless and Poor Seeking Help

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RENO, NV - Hundreds of homeless live on our streets. Others are just hanging on, finding temporary homes in shelters and our resident motels.

There's help which could lift many out of poverty if they can access it.

That's the point of the Project Homeless Connect.

This annual event is sponsored by Catholic Charities, but today they were joined by 67 other organizations at the Reno Events Center. And there were 700 or more of the area's needy seeking help.

A number of services were offered from veterinary care for pets to legal services even a haircut.

Jason Hernandez came with his wife, son and daughter. They have been living in a local motel. A heavy equipment operator, his unemployment ran out recently. He left with a birthday cake for his daughter, but also some possible leads on a job.

"At least there's a bunch of help in one place rather than all over town," says Hernandez. "I only had to walk to one place today instead of finding a way to get all over town before the business day ends."

Sherry Erlandson tells us she was first in line today, before 5 a.m. "I helped some of the volunteers set up," she says.

She's expecting her first baby and she has a lot of needs.

Vicki Evans left with blankets and scarfs. She's disabled, diagnosed with lupus. She has a roof over her head, but the cold is hard on her. "This will help me keep warm," she says.

"I'm due June 2nd," she says. "So they're going to help me with prenatal care and breastfeeding education." She also found sources for other things she will need, baby clothes, crib, etc.

Others came seeking help for other important relationships in their lives.

For the first year, this event included care for pets. Mike Ford, a volunteer vet from Galena Veterinary Hospital says he found many needing vaccination or spaying or neutering, but most in surprisingly good shape.

"Actually in a lot of situations, it seems like their pets are more important than their own health."

The number who show up for this event has grown each year--a measure of the often unseen need out there.

It's just a one day event, but the hope is it connects the homeless and poor to resources that will helps beyond today to lift these people out of poverty.