Volume 41 | October 7th, 2020
Reflections from Amy Schwabenlender, Executive Director
Reflections from the front lines serving individuals experiencing homelessness during a global pandemic, Phoenix summer, and the loss of a champion:
  • Overall many things continue the same way they have since March, and other things continue to adapt and progress.
  • This week's weather implies that temperatures really are starting to drop here in Phoenix.
  • COVID continues. Positivity rates continue to be close to zero at the Human Services Campus. We are fortunate, and I give tremendous credit to all of the employees that are diligent in wearing PPE and ensuring physical distancing between themselves and our clients.
  • Flu vaccines are underway, as we adapt to seasonal changes on everyone’s health.
  • We are receiving lots of generous donations of face masks, which we appreciate greatly! We are using nearly 800 masks per day. Gloves on the other hand (pun intended), are not often donated and are pricey.
  • At this point, planning to operate in COVID-mode through December 2021 seems to be a realistic way to frame the future.
  • Also continuing is our pursuit of approval from the City of Phoenix to add shelter beds. Our request will be heard Monday, October 12th at 6 pm in front of the Central City Village Planning Committee for their recommendation. This is a major milestone and will set the course for movement to Planning Commission and City Council. People who want to help are asked to visit fromstreettohome.org ---> click on Get Involved and take one, two, or three actions to support us; and then follow From Street to Home on social media (see below). Please share with your networks.
  • For more information on the October 12th meeting, click here. It is a virtual meeting, which means that anyone can listen in!
  • The unsheltered population in the Valley deserves access to shelter beds, as it gives them access to services and stability to help them move into permanent housing. There are many faces and names that stick with me. For some reason I keep having a flashback to a couple that I observed nearly two years ago. A man and a woman, maybe in their 30s, were on the sidewalk near the HSC office. The woman was sitting down with a couple of suitcases. The man was standing and encouraging her to stand up with him to walk somewhere. I'm not sure where he wanted to go. He was pleading with her to stand up, begging her to go with him. He started to cry when the loudest words I heard were "Please, I need you to come with me. I can't do this alone. Please." I carried about my business, continuing to walk in the other direction, never knowing if she stood up to go with him. I only knew that regardless of housing status, the people we talk about, the people we discuss as "other than," the individual numbers in our aggregated data points, that they are people, human beings with human feelings. People needing to be together, to feel supported.
  • I share to inform, to maybe build compassion and empathy, to break the stigma of "homelessness." I share, selfishly, to take some of the thoughts out of my head, to clear my mind. Thank you for reading.
Homelessness is not a choice. The reasons men and women experience homelessness are as diverse as they are. To address the challenge, the Human Services Campus and our collaborating partners are seeking Phoenix City Council approval to add more shelter beds. We are not expanding the Campus. We need permission to use our existing space for those men and women already at and near the Campus, so that more people can sleep inside.
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Human Services Campus | 204 S. 12th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85007 | 602.282.0853 | www.hsc-az.org