Sporadic reflections from the front lines serving single adults experiencing homelessness, the onset of Phoenix summer, and many inquiries about what is happening in "the Zone."
This morning the HSC Outreach Team counted 760 unsheltered individuals in our neighborhood. And yes, I say "neighborhood." It is our neighborhood. It's the neighborhood of businesses and residents with homes. "The Zone" is not meant to sound positive, dignified, or uplifting. It's meant to sound derogatory, violent, and negative.
In four spaces on the Human Services Campus more than 900 people were sheltered last night. The total is 1,760 + people who are experiencing homelessness on Campus and in the neighborhood. This is after the May 10 effort led by the City of Phoenix to engage and identify indoor spaces for 60 people on a small section of 9th Avenue (between Washington and Jefferson Streets).
The media covered the May 10th effort intensely. Many concerned people reached out to HSC before, during, and after the effort to understand what is happening, what the impacts are, and what they can do to help. Here is what we know...
The City of Phoenix is the lead on this engagement activity. HSC is one of several partners assisting through the Outreach Team who is engaging as many of the 760 people as possible on a daily basis. Some 400+ people are actively working with HSC staff and partners on steps to shelter and housing. HSC offers unsheltered people Safe Storage, to provide a secure area on Campus for possessions to be held. We help with transportation to indoor locations, communicating the changes, calming anxiety, and being consistent to build and maintain trust.
The City never intended to do a full "sweep" of 760-800 people on one day. Personally I avoid calling these efforts "sweeps," because in other cities that means large encampments are dismantled in one full brush and services are not offered and planned for all of the people being affected. The City of Phoenix is only selecting areas and choosing the dates when they have the appropriate number of indoor spaces available to offer to people. [Read More...]