Sometimes weekly, and sometimes more or less often, reflections from the front lines serving single adults experiencing homelessness, on the cusp of the end to a public health emergency, still seeing COVID positive cases, Phoenix Summer, disrupting systems and living up to the legacy of a champion.

It's been five days since my last post and almost 28 weeks since losing my sense of smell. Bleach, some citrus-y, some ammonia scents are present. Nothing I love, like coffee and chocolate. I dare to dream that those scents will return. In the meantime, I carry on.

There have been several client cases of COVID-19; fortunately no big spikes. We are awaiting changes to CDC guidelines for congregate settings with "vulnerable" populations, such as those we serve at the Human Services Campus. The Outreach team counted 883 unsheltered individuals this morning. This is down from 1,000 just a few weeks ago. A combination of heat driving people away, additional shelter spaces opening, and other unknown factors is reducing the number. We hold our breath to see how the numbers will continue to change.

About this time in 2020, mid-May there were "only" 400 to 500 individuals around the Campus. The County reached out to ask us to operate a Safe Outdoor Space (SOS) on their property just a few blocks away. We signed up for the task in order to create a CDC-guidelined area for people to have 12' x 12' squares to set up a tent, structure, etc. with 24/7 security, potable water, handwashing stations, and porta potties. More than 200 people could be there at a time. As people moved to this SOS, the City started to install posts and chains in the cleared easements. Eventually street after street became cordoned off with unwritten rules that no one could camp in those areas. [Read More...]