A project of the Evansville-Vanderburgh Commission on Homelessness
One Day • One Stop • One Mission
Vanderburgh Homeless Connect 2014
Immediacy – same day results
Community – increased awareness and voluntary civic participation
Partnership – across agencies and multiple sectors including private, city, county, state and federal offices of the community
Excellence – through evaluation and improvement
Hospitality – an authentic atmosphere of welcome experienced by guests, service providers and volunteers
The Evansville Vanderburgh Commission on Homelessness was established by city and county ordinance to oversee the implementation of the locally designed plan to end homelessness called Destination: Home in early 2005. Leadership for the Commission rotates per calendar year between the Mayor and appointed County Commissioner. The Commission began meeting monthly in June 2005. One of the prime objectives of Destination: Home is to increase community coordination of services.
2008 – Vanderburgh County Commissioner Troy Tornatta, Chair of the Commission on Homelessness at the time, was visiting Indianapolis and was invited to visit the Indy Homeless Connect. Commissioner Tornatta was so impressed with what he saw, he immediately discussed the concept of hosting a homeless connect in Evansville with the Commission on Homelessness.
The Commission researched other communities near our size that had hosted similar events. Waco Texas was contacted and the enthusiastic response received about the benefits to the community was overwhelming. “Even if only 100 people come, it’s worth it. The benefits from awareness and increased visibility within the community is amazing,” reported the Waco coordinator.
The Commission decided to proceed in planning an event for spring 2009. One question continued to haunt the planning team of this first time event, ‘Will anyone come?”
March 12, 2009 – The first Vanderburgh Homeless Connect was held at the Veteran Memorial Coliseum. And yes, over four hundred people came. It was a blistering cold day and hundreds of guests were lined up waiting to access services hours before the doors opened. The commission and Community deemed the event a success and it was decided to make it an annual event.
The second Vanderburgh Homeless Connect was moved to the Centre and continues to be hosted by the County Commissioner each March since.
The event depends on the generosity of volunteers, services providers and numerous community suppliers, donors and media outlets.