Billings Community Connect, formerly known as Project Homeless Connect, was held annually in Billings from 2007 to 2015. This one-day event was recognized as a national best practice in the fight against poverty and homelessness.
Billings Community Connect (BCC) represented a nine-year collaboration between the city government, the business community and non-profit service providers and community volunteers.
Project Homeless Connect was developed in the fall of 2004 by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. In December 2005, the National Project Homeless Connect Partnership with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness was launched. As of 2008, over 200 cities in the United States, Canada and Australia had initiated annual Project Homeless Connect events.
Although Project Homeless Connect events differ from city to city, they share certain key characteristics including the provision of local leadership and consumer-centric design :
Hospitality: Consumers are welcomed as guests
Immediacy: Same-day results for consumers
Community: Voluntary civic participation
Partnership: Across agencies and sectors
Excellence: Rigorous evaluation and improvement
One day: A community-wide event
One stop: Housing, support, and quality of life resources
One goal: Ending homelessness
“Having worked in homeless services for the past twelve years, I must admit that this is the most hopeful and productive time I can recall.” – BCC services provider
“It is very empowering to go and be a person that can extend some dignity to someone who hasn’t felt it in years.” - BCC volunteer.