Project Homeless Connect encourages local homeless to fill out 2010 Census
Jared is 20 years old, and like most homeless people interviewed for this article, he declined to give his last name. He is pale and delicately built, with shy brown eyes, a mane of blonde dreadlocks festooned with tiny silver charms, and a cut on his forehead that’s almost healed.
On Tuesday, March 30, he was sitting quietly with some friends in the grass outside the Civic Auditorium in Downtown Santa Cruz, waiting for tickets for admission to Project Homeless Connect (PHC). A daylong event co-sponsored by the United Way of Santa Cruz County and the U.S. Census Bureau, PHC brought together dozens of local charitable organizations to provide services for Santa Cruz’s homeless, while at the same time encouraging them to fill out the 2010 Census. Participants were given access to free services including medical, dental and eye care, employment advice, legal services, identification cards, haircuts, drug and alcohol counseling, needle exchange, meals, hygiene kits, housing help, and veterinary care.