Mat-Su Homeless Connect gives struggling families helping hand
Dozens of agencies and service providers turned out to help people in need Wednesday at the ninth annual Mat-Su Project Homeless Connect.
For Christina Rasmussen, the event was a chance to get new clothes for her growing kids.
"My daughter needs pants, my son needs shirts. The only thing that grew for him is his torso," she said.
This was her first year coming to the resource fair at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.
Rasmussen said her family has been living in a shelter after a series of traumatic events.
"Things started looking up for us once we got there. Things got a lot better," she said.
Now, she needs help getting back on her feet. Having all of the resources in one place made it easy for her to get information about tax preparation and assistance with utilities.
Rasmussen's family has been at the shelter for a month and a half, so she talked with the Families in Transition program about getting a bus to take them to school.
"I've been driving them," she told one of the workers.
"Oh no, we can give you gas cards until we can get a bus started," the worker told her.
Rasmussen said she felt embarrassed about reaching out because some people look down on those in need.
"A lot of people don't understand a lot of the people who do need help aren't into drugs and alcohol," she said. "A lot of people are like me, sometimes, that hit rough patches and need that extra help."
Organizers said everyone was welcome at Project Homeless Connect.
Staff and volunteers from more than 70 organizations were there to get people through their tough times.
"This is a great community to live in. We have a lot of people who care about other people," said David Rose, the coordinator for the Mat-Su Coalition on Housing and Homelessness. "We have folks here who have graduated from other programs needing help and now they're back helping. It keeps going. It keeps helping."
The one-stop shop meant Christina didn't have to drive all over town trying to find what she needs.
"Words cannot express my gratitude for being here today," she said.
Her situation in life has given her a new attitude to keep moving forward. Thanks to community partners, she's on her way.
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