DANVILLE – Homelessness in the area has been in the news recently after a fire under the Memorial Bridge.

A homeless encampment last week was the source of a fire under the bridge, disrupting traffic, according to police.

The Danville Public Library started Project Uplift four years ago to help meet homeless persons' needs in the community. This year's resource event will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in the first floor meeting room just inside the front door at the Danville Public Library, 219 N. Vermilion St.

Project Uplift is designed to connect homeless, or home insecure, persons and families and those who love them with information and resources within the Danville community.

“We have around 20 organizations this year,” said Jessica Augustson, community engagement librarian.

Augustson said they will provide gift bags to the first 100 people. There also will again be a meal provided by Danville Area Community College’s culinary department.

There will be door prizes. Guest speakers will be Melissa Courtwright with CRIS Healthy-Aging Center, The Dwelling Place’s Donna Edington and Thomas Nguyen with the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System.

There also will be a musical presentation by library staff.

Augustson said the library can put a focus on specific topics, such as homelessness. She said it's “unfortunately a problem that persists.”

She said they and other community organizations want to continue to help address it and help people find the resources they need.

For example, The Dwelling Place of Vermilion County is expected to open its day center in the basement of First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. Franklin St., in the next few weeks. The day center will provide shower and laundry facilities and other services.

Augustson said the library also is helping connect homeless persons to important resources like the library itself.

“We do offer library cards for displaced persons,” she said.

Those living in a shelter or elsewhere can use their location as their home address. They can provide a letterhead from that location to show that place will take responsibility for lost or missing items, she said.

Augustson added that Project Uplift may have some of the same organizations year after year in attendance, but each organization may have different resources that they might not have had the year before. They could have different programs and new services.

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