Massive Effort To End Homelessness In Memphis

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(Memphis) Hundred of volunteers showed up at the Cook Convention Center, Thursday, to connect one-on-one with the city's homeless population and help the homeless connect to some vital services.

It was all part of 'Project Homeless Connect Memphis' organized by the Community Alliance for the Homeless.

Volunteers were paired up with homeless individuals to help navigate them through the process and take advantage of everything from free medical and eye screenings to housing and job counseling.

For volunteers it was a chance to understand what it feels like to walk in their shoes.

"He put his stuff down to go into the medical tent and I realized how heavy these bags are. So, imagine if you were carrying around everything you own how heavy that would be," said Sarah Petschenek.

This was the fourth 'Project Homeless Connect Memphis' event and organizers say it is making a difference.

Last year homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County dropped by 13%.

Local leaders say that benefits everyone in the community.

"From an economic standpoint,  as many people as we can get off the streets and back in the community, in a progressive way, where they are working and contributing, building families and paying taxes," said Mayor Mark Luttrell.

Volunteers say once you understand what homelessness means you are more willing to help.

The city of Memphis, Shelby County, the United Way of the Mid-South, FedEx, Baptist Operation Outreach, Methodist Healthcare and Holiday Ham helped sponsor the event.