City officials call for San Diegans to donate, volunteer to help - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City officials call for San Diegans to donate, volunteer to help homeless

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Bob Filner and members of the City Council Monday urged San Diegans to donate to the seventh annual Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event scheduled for the end of this month.

Council President Todd Gloria said residents can sign up to volunteer at the Jan. 30 event at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, where the homeless can receive services like medical and dental care, mental health screenings, haircuts and accept the donations of clothing and other items. San Diegans can also give items like socks, toiletries and rolling suitcases.

"In addition to signing up to volunteer, I'm here to urge you to clear out your closets, because you probably have a few items, like an old winter coat, that you no longer need but can be very useful to someone living on the streets, who's staying in shelters and barely making it," Gloria said.

Last year, Project Homeless Connect helped 941 people, including 112 children, said Richard Gentry, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, one of the event sponsors.

"We expect the need this year will be even greater," Gentry said.

Filner said homelessness was unacceptable in the richest country in the history of the world. The mayor, fiancee Bronwyn Ingram, and Gloria, are co-chairs of the event.

Donations can be dropped off on Jan. 29 at Golden Hall or the Housing Commission office at 1122 Broadway, according to the commission's Matthew Packard. He said an estimated 9,700 homeless people are in the region, with about two-thirds within the city of San Diego.

At a morning news conference, Gloria placed gloves and tube socks in a bin set up at the location. City Council member David Alvarez dropped in a suit, Mark Kersey gave a jacket and bedding, Sherri Lightner provided jackets and Lorie Zapf and her staff contributed at least five bags of clothing.

Zapf also put out a call for someone who can provide manicures and pedicures to volunteer.

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