LEWISTON — A social services resource fair scheduled for downtown Lewiston is aimed at bringing providers together as much as it is getting those services out to the people who need help.

“There are a lot of folks that are doing great work around the community to help people, but oftentimes even they don’t know what else is out there,” said Janice Lara-Hewey, chairwoman of the Lewiston-Auburn Services for the Homeless committee. “If you have a child care issue, that can affect your ability to get to work, which affects your ability to pay rent. Where do you start? Who should you speak to?”

The all-day event will be held on April 16 at Kaplan University’s Lewiston campus, 475 Lisbon St. So far, 32 area social service agencies have planned to come, ranging from homeless and tenant advocacy groups, veterans’ groups and small-business experts.

It’s broken into three sessions, starting with a provider network session at 8 a.m.

“We really want to make this a community event,” Lara-Hewey said. “Really, there are a lot of things that happen to a person or a family before they get to someone like me, who deals with the homeless.”

Potential clients are invited in for the traditional resource fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Finally, providers will offer 30-minute presentations on a variety of topics beginning at 1 p.m.

“One session is on lead paint because it’s a huge issue in the downtown area,” she said. “The Small Business Administration is going to do another so that people who have a desire to start a business but don’t have resources of their own can find out about the resources that are available.”

Those sessions are scheduled to last until 6 p.m.

Sue Charron, Lewiston’s director of social services, said it’s a valuable day, even for experienced social services providers and clients.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I still learn about some other service that I didn’t know existed,” she said. “Once I know, I can start referring people.”

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