The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J. announced in his address at the Founders Day Convocation that 2020 will be the final year that Creighton hosts Project Homeless Connect Omaha.
The convocation was held on Feb. 4 in the Hixson-Lied Auditorium.
PHCO is a one-day event that has welcomed people experiencing homelessness in the Omaha and Council Bluffs areas into the Kiewit Fitness Center to receive support and community resources that would otherwise take months to secure.
Creighton has hosted PHCO since 2008.
There are plans to continue the event in Omaha, but a new host is needed.
In his address, Hendrickson commented on the many accomplishments of the program throughout its time on campus.
While at Creighton, PHCO has utilized an estimated 10,000 volunteers and hosted approximately 6,000 guests.
“This event exemplifies so much of Creighton’s mission,” Hendrickson said. “It’s grounded in the Ignatian tradition of Cura Personalis by addressing community needs, promoting awareness of social justice issues and engaging in meaningful service.”
Following the address, which included several announcements on the state of the University, Hendrickson was asked in a Q&A session to speak more on the rationale as to why PHCO will not continue at Creighton.
“I think there is some fatigue with the process,” Hendrickson said. “There’s a greater workload and less people able to step up for the hours of work that go into putting [PHCO] into action. I think even [those] who have been leaders in PHCO have assessed that it’s probably time to think of different ways of doing community engagement and enacting that kind of mission.”
Schlegel Center for Service and Justice director Ken Reed-Bouley is one of these leaders.
He is proud of the work Creighton has done while hosting PHCO, but he sees that a change is needed.
“As the event has grown annually in size and scope, so too have the demands on our institution, volunteer leadership teams and other resources,” Reed-Bouley said.
Leaders of PHCO at Creighton are excited to host the event one final time this year and look forward to reaching out to their community partners, as well as other agencies and institutions, to work to transition PHCO to a new host for 2021 and beyond.
“Many key community partners have indicated their desire to continue PHCO in the years to come,” Reed-Bouley said.
Creighton’s final PHCO is on March 27 in the KFC.