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WELLNESS: Community event helps those in need


POLK COUNTY — The Polk County Community Connect, an annual event created to help people facing homelessness, has a new location — the Academy Building in Dallas — and will have a new focus.

The event is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, with free food and transportation provided along with assistance with medical, dental, pet care and social service needs.


Polk County Family & Community Outreach has taken over organizing the event this year, and decided to take the concept back to where it started eight years ago.

“The last two years, the folks that were running it were concentrating on serving the unsheltered homeless,” said Brent DeMoe, director of Family & Community Outreach. “This year, we wanted to take it back to the community connect roots that we started with seven or eight years ago, and have it be more of a prevention focus that anybody can come to with the intent of preventing homelessness.”

DeMoe said attendance declined in the previous two years, and those who did show up were mostly from one area of the county.

“The majority of folks were being bussed in from the West Salem area. We saw a decline in people coming from the rural parts of Polk County,” he said. “We are making it more family friendly, open to anyone. We’ll have lots of services from the broad spectrum, from health to social service.”

El Pique of Dallas will provide street tacos for guests, who can receive a number of free services at the event — including flu shots, pet care, clothing, haircuts and dental care — in addition to getting information from more than 60 agencies who provide assistance.

“Capitol Dental will be doing free dental screenings and sealants, as well as we have a dental van for anyone with emergency dental needs,” DeMoe said. “Shannon’s Pet Stylin’ will be doing free ear cleaning and nail trimming for pets.”

For a full list of service providers, go to polkio.com.

DeMoe said, in a change from the past, clients can sign up for services on the spot with the Dallas Resource Center, part of the Family & Community Outreach program.


What we are doing this year, because we are doing it in the Academy Building, is we actually have slots held the entire time the connect is open from 2 to 6, where we can actually do an intake with a family or a person and get them help instantly,” DeMoe said. “So, the resource center, all the appointment slots are held for that day in case there is someone who might be experiencing homelessness or they’ve got a shut off notice or eviction notice, we can do an intake right away.”

DeMoe said clients might be more likely to seek assistance if they do so on the same day.

“Sometimes people will pick up a brochure or flyer somewhere, but maybe they don’t follow through or they lose it, so at least at this event, we will be able to connect people right away,” he said.

Also, Polk County’s Public Health and Behavioral Health departments are located in the Academy Building, and will be on hand to assist people.

“It’s an interesting concept. It’s the first time we’ve tried it at the Academy Building,” DeMoe said. “We are trying something different this time. Instead of concentrating everybody at one location in one area, we have three floors of the Academy Building available, and the gym will be set up.”

Transportation will be provided to and from West Salem, Falls City, Grand Ronde, Monmouth and Independence, provided by the Falls City Direct Connect and local church groups.

DeMoe said agencies still have time to set up a booth, and volunteers are always needed.

“If people want to do any volunteering, even if it is for a two-hour shift, we have plenty of things for volunteers to help with as well,” DeMoe said.


Resource Fair

What: Polk County Community Connect & Resource Fair

When: Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m.

Where: Academy Building, 182 SW Academy St., Dallas.

For more information for clients, volunteers or service providers: 503-623-9664, ext. 2457 or email Stephanie Gilbert at gilbert.stephanie@co.polk.or.us or Amber Kozisek at kozisek.amber@co.polk.or.us.

Transportation schedule:

Falls City, Mountain Gospel Fellowhship Church

Departs from the church at: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30 p.m.

Departs from the Academy Building at: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

Monmouth/Independence, Central Health & Wellness Center

Departs from the center at: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30 p.m.

Departs from the Academy Building at: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

West Salem, Northwest Human Services

Departs from NW Human Services at: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30 p.m.

Departs from the Academy Building at: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

Grand Ronde, Iskam Mekhaek-Haws

Departs from the center at: 1:30 and 3:30 p.m

Departs from the Academy Building at: 3 and 6 p.m.


Community Connect Agencies

211info

ARCHES - PIT

Bambinos

Bus Guy

Cherriots Trip Choice

City of Independence

Community Action Agency

Community Clothing Closet

Creating Opportunities

Dallas Barber shop

Dallas Food Bank

Dallas Goodwill Job Connection

DHS Self Sufficiency

Easter Seals Oregon Connecting Communities Program

Easterseals Oregon - SCSEP

Easterseals Oregon Supportive Services for Veteran Families

Energy Trust of Oregon

Family Building Blocks

Family Promise

Fostering Hope Initiative

Goodwill Job Connections

Head Start

HIV Alliance

Iskam MekhMek-Haws

Legal Aid Services of Oregon

Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency

Northwest Senior & Disability Services

Northwest Family Services

Northwest Human Services

OHP Enrollment Assisters

Options Counseling and Family Services

Oregon Child Development Coalition

Oregon Family Support Network

Oregon Public Utility Commission

Oregon State Extension- Polk County

PacificSource Health Plans

Polk Community Development Corporation

Polk Community Free Clinic

Polk County Behavioral Health Services

Polk County Crisis

Polk County Health Services

Polk County Public Health

Polk County School Based Mental Health

Polk County VSO

Polk County Warming Centers

Project ABLE

Sable House

Shannons Pet Stylin

Southtown Apartments

Stephanie Brown

The Kindness Club

The Salvation Army

The Thoughts & Gifts Project

United Way

US Census

West Valley Housing Authority

Willamette Valley Hospice

WorkSource Salem Veterans Services

Yamhill Community Care

Yamhill Community Care

Written by Jolene Guzman Polkio.com

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