Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships
United Way of Central Maryland
The United Way of Central Maryland launched Project Homeless Connect in early 2012.
The program brings services directly to the homeless community, including medical care, job resources, detox programs, legal assistance, dental care, and more.
It now is the biggest of its kind in the country and recently was declared a national best practices model for events of this nature, according to Scott Gottbreht, assistant director of strategic partnerships for the United Way of Central Maryland.
One reason, he said, is that the organization has addressed the issue of providing ID for homeless people head on.
“There are a lot of services out there, but you need ID for all of them,” Gottbreht said.
Fifty percent of people living in shelters have no photo ID, preventing them from getting access to jobs, housing, government benefits, health insurance, and most other services.
His organization now is providing 500 IDs each year in shelters.
Now in the fourth year of its Project Homeless Connect program, Gottbreht said, about 5,000 homeless participants, volunteers, and service provider representatives attended the September resource fair.
“The end goal,” he said. “Is to end homelessness. This is something that can be solved.”