Project Homeless Connect to help combat area homelessness

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The fifth annual Project Homeless Connect was held Thursday to help place people who are experiencing homelessness with agencies that may help them.

Thirty agencies and about 75 volunteers gathered to provide services to those who need it.

Services included free food, free eye exams, free HIV testing, and aid in finding public housing.

Almost 300 people were reported homeless last year in Columbia.

Human Services Manager Steve Hollis says the city of Columbia is very involved in providing affordable housing for those who need it.

But he says there are more problems besides a lack of affordable housing; there is also a lack of mental health services.

And he says the vast majority of those who are experiencing homelessness are families with children.

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