Reflections from the front lines serving individuals experiencing homelessness during a global pandemic, Phoenix summer, and the loss of a champion:
- It feels like we have hit a COVID-stride... changes and surprises from COVID-19 seem to be at a plateau. We are experiencing a very low number of positive cases among clients. Remaining consistent in our efforts with face coverings, frequent cleaning and physical distancing in all buildings is our “new normal.” Doing whatever it takes to keep clients and employees as safe as possible.
- Heat and monsoon effects are still real and unpredictable threats. Recent wind and rain ravaged tents and canopies, the "shelter" of the unsheltered. We received replacement tents from several donors - thank you!
- Several opportunities presented themselves over the last few weeks where I was able to answer questions about our request to the City of Phoenix to add shelter beds. Bottom line: we have buildings that we can shelter more people in; when we do that there are fewer people unsheltered making choices to use private property as toilets and trash cans; we save and transform lives and reduce homelessness. And we do not look at this as a "burden" we look at this as "humanity" and "doing the right thing." Clearly doing the right thing is not always the popular thing.
- In the spirit of constant adaptation, HSC challenged staff to find ways to keep more program space open during the day. The team came together and rescheduled hours in order to keep the Brian Garcia Welcome Center and Lodestar Day Resource Center Day Room open during lunch. Historically these spaces have closed while clients went for a meal at St. Vincent de Paul. Now the spaces stay open and clients may continue to access basic needs and transformational services. Thank you team!
- In order to prepare for “flu season” we are grateful for our partnership with Maricopa County Public Health and Circle the City for offering free flu vaccinations later this month during all day “clinics” to any and all clients and employees. We want to do our part to reduce the occurrence of the flu while we all still deal with COVID-19. Thank you partners!
From my view, things are always changing. Each day brings different challenges and opportunities. As we settle in to COVID operating mode, we keep looking ahead for what is next on the horizon. We enjoy small moments of calm and accomplishment.
Thank you dear reader for your interest and support in our journey. Stay safe and healthy!