Although the number of households it served dropped slightly from the year before, the Yamhill County Community Connect event improved in several significant ways after moving to Linfield College this year.
That was the takeaway from the Housing Authority of Yamhill County (HAYC) review of its signature event, which moved from Chemeketa Community College to the Health, Human Performance and Athletics Building at Linfield, which is likely more familiar to people as home to Ted Wilson Gymnasium and the Wildcat basketball teams.
"We're planning on continuing to have it at Linfield College and part of the reason is because they have shower facilities that they're allowing us to utilize for the guests that come in," HAYC Executive Director Elise Hui said. "That is completely new. We have never been able to offer that before. I think that was a big thing."
The event was held May 31 and volunteers surveyed 144 heads of household about their background, which was down from 167 in 2016, but Hui noted that's not unusual when the event moves to a new location.
In addition to the use of the facility's showers, which Hui plans to market more next year, the Linfield site consolidated all of its service providers in one place, where as they were divided among three floors at the previous site, which caused some confusion for clients.
Just under 300 volunteers came together to put on the event, including 55 different service providers, whose offerings ranged from medical and dental care to haircuts, social services and veterinary services for 26 pets.
"I think that is a wonderful show of what kind of community resources we do have available," Hui said. "Some were utilized more than others, but the fact that they were able to all come together at once on one day was huge."
Huey said the surveys revealed that about half of the survey takers were unemployed and 15 percent were Spanish speakers.
"We have a lot of younger homeless and there were a lot in the 19 to 30 age group that attended," Hui said. "I was pleased to see that a good number did come through on transit services of some type, too. It means that program for the free transit services the day of is working well."
A committee of 14 people, including Hui, worked to host the event, which is always looking for volunteers interested in assuming leadership roles.
"It's a lot of work to get this set up, so if anybody has a passion for planning and organizing, they definitely can contact me and we're always looking for donations for the event and different types of volunteers," Hui said. "It takes the whole community to make sure this keeps happening."
For more information, call HYAC at 503-883-4300 or visit www.hayc.org.