Homeless and financial unstable individuals can receive dental care, housing information and identification cards at Project Homeless Connect, an event expected to draw more than a thousand to the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday.

Organizers are also seeking volunteers to help vulnerable families become more self-sufficient by connecting them to an assortment of health and human services. The event, based on a national model, is returning to Baltimore for a second year.

Volunteers will act as guides to help clients navigate the event. Shuttle buses will run to shelters and soup kitchens in the city to help individuals access the convention center.

"Project Homeless Connect gives hope to people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "The services at the event will give our neighbors the tools they need to get out of crisis. This event will mean the difference between years on the street and a stable, secure lifestyle for many who attend."

The Mayor's Office of Human Services and United Way of Central Maryland are the lead organizers of the event. Student volunteers from universities across the region are expected.

"Few situations that individuals and families encounter are more destabilizing or dehumanizing than homelessness," said Mark Furst, president and CEO of the local United Way. "An army of caring volunteers and providers will show them that people do care and are ready to help them."

Last year, nearly 1,000 homeless and at-risk individuals and families attended the inaugural Project Homeless Connect at M&T Bank Stadium.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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