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Project Homeless Connect in Bellingham to give services to hundreds

Melanie Ficken cuts Tina VanDerwoude's hair at during the sixth annual Project Homeless Connect Friday, July 25, 2014, at Bellingham High School. This year’s event is Friday, July 24, at the high school.
Melanie Ficken cuts Tina VanDerwoude's hair at during the sixth annual Project Homeless Connect Friday, July 25, 2014, at Bellingham High School. This year’s event is Friday, July 24, at the high school. The Bellingham Herald

More than 500 people are expected to seek help during the seventh annual Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event to bring a wide array of free services to those in need.

The one-stop effort will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 24, at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave.

About 165 people are volunteering for the event that organizer Dan Hammill said was “really about neighbors helping neighbors.”

Free, confidential services that will be provided include dental care, medical exams, vision screening, women’s health care, housing assistance and information on veteran benefits.

Those needing services should arrive early, if possible. They also are being encouraged to bring identification, even if an ID isn’t required for most services.

Free meals and personal items also will be distributed.

As part of the event, Whatcom Transportation Authority will provide free bus rides — except on Route 80X serving Mount Vernon — Thursday and Friday, July 23-24, for all passengers countywide to help people get to the event.

For bus route and schedule information, call 360-676-RIDE or go to ridewta.com.

Project Homeless Connect is a community-wide effort.

At last year’s event, a total of 350 volunteers and providers from more than 30 health and human service agencies helped 515 people access a host of services that included dental exams, foot care and employment screenings.

It is part of a national initiative launched by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. More than 700 communities in the U.S., Canada and Australia have organized a Project Homeless Connect.

For more on the event, contact Hammill, who also is on the Bellingham City Council, at info@phcwhatcom.org.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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