Community Resources Unite to Provide Day of Services for Those In Need
By Abbi Ross
The Razorback Reporter
Community members and services combined efforts to present a day of services for those in need in Fayetteville.
This year is the 12th for the event called Hope, said Brian McAnally, Homeless Veterans Coordinator at VA Medical Center. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, volunteers dispensed food, legal services, flu shots, haircuts, dental care, foot examinations and offered a variety of other services.
The latest count showed that 529 people in Fayetteville were facing homelessness on Jan. 24, 2019, according to the Northwest Arkansas Continuum of Care’s Point-in-Time census.
NWA Continuum of Care is a non-profit coalition working to end homelessness in the region. Volunteers are passionate about ending homelessness in the region, according to their website.
The Point in Time Count is a HUD-required count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January.
Hope comes from a VA initiative that provides money to each medical center that puts on an event with the community, McAnally said.
“The event itself is a community collaboration,” McAnally said.
Organizations gathered in the activity center and Wesley building of the church.
Clients completed a short form when they arrived. That helped gather statistics on those seeking services. The form looked at several factors, including name, age, gender, race, veteran status, employment status and whether they have any dependents. Lunch was served in conjunction with Community Meals, McAnally said. Community Meals are available at Central United Methodist, Genesis Church, Cross Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, LifeSource International and Seven Hills at various times and days throughout the week.
One of the goals of the day is to create a “one-stop location” for those in need, McAnally said.
John Holland attended the event to work on getting his record expunged, he said. Holland, a cook, moved to Arkansas around five years ago, before becoming homeless around three years ago, he said.
“The biggest thing is trying positive when everyone else is telling you no,” Holland said. “I need help now not six months from now.” Holland was housed through the 7Hills Homeless Center’s HOPE program, he said.
The HOPE programs help provide permanent housing and wrap-around case management services to homeless and near-homeless Veterans in Northwest Arkansas, according to the 7Hills Center website. He also got a haircut at the event, Holland said.
St. Francis House and Ozark Guidance were two of the service booths available at the event. St. Francis House’s focus is on homeless veterans and their families, case manager Adrian Davila said.
The organization offers different forms of assistance including housing, security deposits and utilities, Davila said.
“We do it to love our neighbors and serve one another,” said Glenn Miller, local service coordinator for Central United Methodist Church about the event.
Miller thinks that if someone can help with things such as flu shots, haircuts and a meal, then why not, he said.