We are glad to see the Polk County Community Connect event back to its roots, ready to help all who need help. In the past couple of years, the event shifted to focus on those who were unsheltered homeless. The shift was intended to provide a place for those who are truly out in the open a way to get help and make them feel more comfortable doing so — they would be there with others who experienced the same situation as they did.

When that shift was made, it excluded others in our county who need help, particularly those in rural areas. That includes those who may be struggling financially or with health or mental health issues, and those who are in danger of being homeless.

It makes sense to open this event up to serving all who may benefit from it rather than focusing on one part of the homeless population. It is much easier — and less expensive — to keep someone in housing rather than find them a home once they’ve lost it.

This event has been at Valley Life Center in Dallas the last few years, and before that at Living Hope City Church. This year, it is at the Academy Building in Dallas, which opens up all the county’s resources in one place. It means people can access help right then and there, rather than lose a business card or flyer, or not remember where they were supposed to go or to whom they were supposed to speak.

It means hope.

People attending this event can find hope that day. Brent DeMoe, director of the county’s Family & Community Outreach department, said the new format is an experiment, and its success depends on people knowing it’s happening and attending.

You can help by spreading the word that all are invited to stop by and see what’s going on there.

If you would like to do more, volunteers are needed to help at the event. For more information: 503-623-9664, ext. 2457.

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