Hundreds Find Local Resources at Project Community Connect

Posted at: 01/24/2014 6:46 PM
Updated at: 01/24/2014 6:49 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s hard to image hundreds of people in our area are homeless or struggling to make ends meet. That's why organizations in the Rochester area ban together each year for Project Community Connect. We caught up with a family taking advantage of the dozens of services available today.

For Joleen Kenitz and her granddaughter, Friday was a chance to get services they normally don't get.

"I can't afford to ever have one, so it's kind of nice,” said Joleen Kenitz of Rochester.

From haircuts to manicures, there were more than 50 local resources available free of charge.

"When you don't have a place to live, you don't have any transportation and you don't have a phone, it can be a really really really horrible feeling,” said Kenitz. Joleen would know, she says up until six months ago she was homeless. Now back on her feet, Joleen came to Project Community Connect for her three children and grandchild.

"I know one of my children is currently homeless and really doesn't know where to go or what to do about it, “said Kenitz.

There was no shortage of those in need of a helping hand Friday. Eye exams, blood pressure checks and a free meal are just a few essential services all under one roof.

"It's overwhelming when you see all the people coming through,” said Jennifer Johnson, part of Homeless Community Network in Olmsted County. "Just knowing that we can put something together and we hear that one of the main things people want is for us to do this more often, it means it's making a difference,” she said.

For Joleen Kenitz, getting connected with local resources that can help support her family is a step in the right direction.

"I’m very grateful,” said Kenitz.

Project Community Connect takes place annually at Mayo High School in Rochester. This year, more than 250 people took advantage of the local resources.