Groups partner to collect supplies for homeless people
More than 200 supporters, volunteers and local residents recently stuffed 500 baskets full of supplies at the Fairfax County Government Center to send to families and people without homes.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership, which represents various homeless advocacy organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors, partnered with Target to host the community service event.
Baskets were filled with cleaning supplies, hygiene products and other household materials to be given to clients of the organizations.
After the care packages were arranged and sent off, the partnership hosted activities for kids, including educational games and information booths about homelessness in the region.
"This event with Target is an example of how we've had many seasoned organizations in our community for a while, but we've never worked together in the way that we're starting to work as partners between government, faith and business," said Dean Klein, director of the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.
The partnership was established two years ago, spurred by a county plan to end homelessness in the area by December 2018.
"We have prevented over 854 individuals, representing 348 households, from being homeless since the partnership started to work in the fall," said Amanda Andere, executive director of FACETS, one of the organizations in the partnership that provides transitional housing and other services for the homeless. "FACETS has always worked in a partnership model, but in working with the other organizations, we've been much more effective in the way we deliver services and the impact we have on the people we serve."
Fairfax County officials reported earlier this year that there were about 1,500 homeless people in the Fairfax and Falls Church communities, an 11 percent drop from the previous year.
"Even as communities are economically challenged, we were able to reduce the number of homeless," Klein said.
-- Vanessa Mizell