In April, Parkville Community Association contacted Journey Home about attending one of their monthly meetings to discuss homelessness as well as to address some concerns about homelessness in their community. Parkville is a neighborhood on the west side of Hartford that stretches from the center of Park Street all the way to Capitol Avenue and Prospect Avenue. The Parkville Community Association is managed by their President, David Morin, and consists of various providers in the Parkville area as well as Community Service officers, volunteers and residents. At these meetings they discuss various topics including housing development, construction and waste management. They also discuss any issues in the neighborhood related to safety.

On April 18th, Kelly Gonzalez, Outreach Coordinator for Journey Home attended the Parkville Community Association meeting. She brought materials with her and educated the group on homelessness and the proper steps to help a client get connected to homeless services in the community. The group was very excited to hear about services available to this population and provided Kelly with locations where clients are known to be unsheltered. The Outreach Coordinator assured them that it would be brought back to the outreach team and that they would do their best to connect with clients found in the locations provided.

On May 9th, the outreach team agreed to cancel the outreach meeting and instead make it an outreach field trip. She split the 14 unsheltered locations provided by the Parkville community in two groups and both teams headed out to search for the unsheltered clients in these areas. Community Health Resources, Hands on Hartford, ImmaCare, House of Bread and Friendship Service Center worked cohesively and safely to canvass the grounds provided. Group A covered the residential areas and looked for evidence of homelessness behind churches, businesses and playscapes. Group B covered the industrial areas and searched for campsites behind parks, construction sites and near railroad tracks.

Once the groups finished checking all the areas assigned to them they reconvened at Hands on Hartford to discuss their findings. Group A found tents behind the Fast Track Station and Group B found a campsite behind Pope Park. Unfortunately, the people residing in these areas were not present at the time. Both teams left outreach cards, toiletries and lunches in these areas with hopes that they will reach out and know that there is a team in the community who can assist them.

Moving forward, both areas will continuously get checked for unsheltered people with the hope that they will engage and accept homeless services. The alliance amongst the homeless providers and Parkville Community Association was a great one that proved we have a shared goal to make a social change. Ending homelessness is a community effort and the collaboration amongst the various agencies proved that working together is the only way we can create breakthroughs. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, said it best, “when we need to innovate, you need collaboration.”

Journey Home would like to thank all of our funders and donors for making these kinds of partnerships possible.