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About 70 service providers ranging from physicians and social workers to barbers and bicycle mechanics are scheduled to mobilize Wednesday, May 18, at the Redding Convention Center for the third annual Project Homeless Connect event.
The one-day gathering provides one-stop assistance to Shasta County residents who are homeless or on the verge, of which there are an estimated 3,500. The first year attracted about 400 people, while last year about 1,000 showed up.
“I have a feeling that we could see 1,200 to 1,600 guests,” said event coordinator Jessica Delaney. “I definitely think the word has spread.”
In addition, free bus rides on RABA for people headed to Project Homeless Connect, including from Burney to Redding, should raise attendance, Delaney said. RABA will also run a free shuttle from the downtown Redding bus terminal to the convention center.
Organizers have been working on making the event run efficiently, which is a major task considering the number of people in need and the number of entities offering services. Homeless people (whom event organizers insist on calling “guests,” which I think is a nice gesture) will go through a check-in/triage process to determine their needs and priorities, and then work with an escort, who, in turn, will work with another service coordinator.
“We would really like our guest experience to be comfortable and efficient, and to eliminate the long lines,” Delaney said.
Want to help? You may bring nonperishable food to the Redding Convention Center parking lot between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday. But what organizers need more than anything is cash, as donations are down from last year, Delaney said. Although all service providers donate their time to Project Homeless Connect, money is still needed to pay for California ID cards, birth certificates, immunizations, food and other things. Donations should be sent to Shasta County Project Homeless Connect, care of Northern Valley Catholic Social Service, 2400 Washington Ave., Redding, CA, 96001.
On today’s À La Carte menu:
• Clinic cuts ribbon … Rolling Hills medical and dental clinic has scheduled its grand opening this Thursday, May 19, in Red Bluff with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. and clinic tours starting at 10 a.m. Sponsored by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, who own Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, the clinic provides walk-in medical and dental care, urgent care, family and pediatric medicine, preventive care and extensive dental services. The clinic will accept Medicare, Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal, California Health Families Program and most private insurance. The facility is located at 2540 Sister Mary Columba Drive, next to St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, in south Red Bluff. There’s also a new Rolling Hills clinic in Corning. Visit the clinic website to learn more about services.
• Nerds with food … Nerds on Call, which provides computer tech services for consumers, is offering a $20 coupon for anyone who brings $5 worth of canned or dry foods to the office in the Target center on Churn Creek Road in Redding this month. Nerds will donate the food to a local food pantry. Most needed are cereals, canned meat, soup, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, rice and pasta.
• In excellent health … Congratulations to recipients of the Shasta County 2011 excellence in public health awards: Anderson Cottonwood Christian Assistance (which distributed food, including fresh produce, to more than 20,000 households); Cypress Parent School Club (which switched to healthier, nutritious fundraisers); Tommy Corey (who created the Self-Worth Project); Dan Waldrop (who works with Project Homeless Connect); Whiskeytown National Recreation Area Superintendent Jim Milestone (who implemented a smoke-free beaches policy); and Bethany Moore and Derrick King (who created Shasta Lake’s annual skateboard competition).
• Rodeo congestion … With the Redding Rodeo scheduled for each evening from Thursday through Saturday, May 19 through 21, traffic will be congested around the rodeo grounds and convention center. Redding police warn motorists to expect delays. If you are headed to the Sundial Bridge, you might want to come at it from the north side of the river. Viking Skate Country will remain open during the rodeo and will have parking reserved for its patrons.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and is not a provider of dental care. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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