Terence Craig moved to Prince George in August, but he still doesn't have a place to live.
"I look at myself as a man of responsibility and accountability, but I temporarily find myself on the street," Craig said. "I've been staying at the hostels ever since I moved into town."
Craig was one of hundreds of people to visit the Prince George Native Friendship Centre on Tuesday to take part in Connect Day. Part of Homelessness Action Week, Tuesday's event offered survival backpacks, consisting of blankets, essentials like toothpaste and clothes, to those living on the street. People could also receive a free hair cut and have a free family photo taken.
"Number one, I wanted to get a hair cut, so when I saw the hair cut on the advertisement, I thought I might as well come on down," Craig said. "But I also took advantage of grabbing a back pack and a few other items of need."
Representatives from 14 community organizations were also on hand Tuesday to give people without a home a chance to connect with service providers.
Community Partners Addressing Homelessness Society chairman Brandon Grant said they expected about 250 people to access the service on Tuesday, which is about 100 more than used it just five years ago.
Grant said although the number of people living on the street appears stable, more and more people are in a position where they have to choose to spend the money they earn working on either rent or food - not both.
"A lot of people think of homelessness as the absolute homelessness picture, the guy sleeping out on the street," he said. "That's changed. We see a lot of working poor accessing services now."
Like Craig, Madeline Belcourt was first attracted to Connect Day because she saw the free haircut ad at a local shelter. Although she's been without a home of her own for 12 years, this is the first time she attended the event.
Belcourt picked up some bus tickets and a blanket among other items in her backpack, but it was the hair cut that put a big smile on her face.
She's optimistic she can eventually move from the ranks of the homeless to someone who has a place to call her own.
"I'm taking programs here to get myself a job and then get myself a home," she said. "It's good so far and with my haircut I feel a lot better."
Connect Day and other events this week, including a turkey lunch on Wednesday at the Fire Pit, a pancake breakfast on Thursday at the Native Friendship Centre and a potlatch on Friday at the Fire Pit, are put on through the work of volunteers.
Grant was thankful for all who helped out, in particular UNBC students who raised about $3,500 through their Five Days for the Homeless campaign in the spring.
"It takes a lot of volunteer hours to put it on, but it's always worth it," he said. "We see the great need."