Sporadic reflections from the front lines serving single adults experiencing homelessness, with more hours per day of sunshine, Phoenix summer on the horizon, and swirling community conversations. It's been 11 days since my last post. Since we are in endemic mode related to COVID, I'll pause my personal olfactory updates and only share if I gain some tremendous new level of smelling abilities (note: nothing new in the last 11 days).
After about six weeks of counting more than 800 individuals as unsheltered in the neighborhood around the Human Services Campus, the count today by the HSC Outreach Team is 762. We don't know where over 100 people went exactly in the last week. We do know that news from the City about cleanup activities is causing people to have concerns, questions, and potentially leading them to leave the area.
We continue to shelter about 900 people per night in four spaces on the Campus. And as summer temperatures have already arrived, we are setting up for heat relief. More shaded areas outdoors, more hours indoors for people have a place of respite. And the impending demand for approximately 100,000 bottles of water per month. The collective Thirst Aid effort launches this week with an ask to the community to donate bottles of water, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm. It's the time of year when I'm reminded that the effects of heat are not as recognized as cold weather effects. Having spent my younger years in Wisconsin, freeze warnings are seemingly more easily understood by people. We all can visualize freezing (we all know what an ice cube looks like and how it's made), and we know it doesn't take long to suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. A heat warning doesn't seem to create the same visual... maybe we have personally experienced heat exhaustion or heat stroke... and maybe we all haven't. Yet heat can create a stress on the body that may lead to serious and potentially fatal conditions. For us Phoenicians, hydration and shade are life saving measures.
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