More than 1,000 people attended the Project Homeless Connect fair this week at the Reno Events Center. Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada helps to organize the annual event to bring together dozens of groups who provide housing, health and educational assistance.
Matt Vaughn of Catholic Charities explained that the event aims to provide resources for the working poor and those without homes in the Reno area.
“Our goal here, essentially, is to educate those who are in need but also for all of these organizations to work together to solve the issues of poverty and homelessness, and really it’s a team effort,” he said.
Service providers said service demands are on the rise, showing that homelessness remains a serious issue. To the hundreds who turned out for the event, many appeared grateful for the opportunity to get help, including something as simple as a free haircut.
Patrick Johnson, for example, is disabled.
“I’ve got a rare heart condition that doesn’t allow me to work,” he said.
Johnson said that he is in Reno to take care of his brother, who he says was recently injured. He complimented the event.
“It seems like everybody is knowledgeable and it’s set up where everything is easy to find,” he added.
Vaughn said that service needs continue to grow even though overall unemployment is down.
In the past six months Catholic Charities has seen an increase of people coming through its food pantry — from 12,000 a month to upwards of 17,000 people a month.
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Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.