BOZEMAN — The Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition (GGHAC) has been a resource for those in need ever since a man was found frozen in the cab of an unmarked U-Haul truck 13 years ago.
“It upset this community and those of us who were in the social services arena,” said Michele LeTendre, a co-coordinator with GGHAC.
This year, the group partnered with the Greater Gallatin United Way to sponsor the 12th annual Community Connect event at the Bozeman Public Library on Saturday.
“We have people who live in poverty. So it’s a place for them to find out about what resources are available and who they can talk to,” said Rick Gale with Vietnam Veterans of America, Southwest Montana Chapter.
There were 29 different agencies and groups from the Bozeman area at the event, providing an array of resources and services.
Services included everything from free medical care, housing and employment assistance, and veterans services, to even a free haircut.
“We’ve each done about 5 or 6 haircuts today for everybody; some of them are doing big chops, some of them are just a trim. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Teddy Kirkegaard with the Academy of Cosmetology in Bozeman.
Groups like the Lion’s Club had a stand with free reading glasses, and there were even veterinarians on call with vaccines and supplies for pets.
The goal of the day was to connect people with resources and information.
Letendre says the event also coincided with the national census effort to count the number of homeless people in the community.
“This is an event and one of many settings and projects that GGHAC does to try and bring dignity to a population that faces shame.”