TEMPE, AZ — They arrived bright and early by the van load, quickly forming lines at University Presbyterian Church in Tempe Tuesday.
The group arrived at the church so people like Steven can get a hand up during a dark time.
“I’m glad to see the communities coming and taking care of people again, it really is a relief,” said Steven.
The former marine, now homeless, said a lot of critical services disappeared during the pandemic.
At Project Connect, a one-off event bringing together more than 16 nonprofits, help was offered in a wide variety of help.
“I’ve been on the streets for quite a while now and so far, every stop has been beneficial,” said Steven.
What makes this event unique is all the services that they offer, including professionals getting folks IDs or birth certificates, on-site legal services, food, haircuts, bike repair and more, culminate into a one stop shop of sorts.
“Like going to the MVD, things like that are hard for us to do because we’re homeless, we don’t have an address or a way to get there, and these people are devoting their time to help us out. It means a lot to me,” said Steven.
Josh and his girlfriend Kayla are struggling as well.
“You don’t have to go looking around, googling every resource and going all across the state,” said Josh.
“The pandemic hit, and jobs got scarce, and I was the lowest man on the totem pole when they started laying off employees,” said Josh.
Josh lost his job in Oregon when they cut staff. He’s working now but doesn’t make enough to afford housing at the moment, forced to survive by living out of his car.
“It’s hard to get into a place when all your money goes to just surviving,” said Josh.
But here, help is all around them. From medical checkups and mental health professionals, to housing and job placement. The event even offers COVID-19 vaccines and tests.
“You have to first throw away pride, I’ve been where you’re at, but God helps those that help themselves,” said another man named Larry.
Those that were brave enough to show up today, certainly took a step in the right direction.