Sporadic reflections from the front lines serving people experiencing homelessness, riding out the Phoenix summer, and counting my blessings. It's been more than a month since my last post.
Maybe it was the heat of July. Or it was not wanting the writing to be a must-do or a chore. It's been awhile since I've written a blog post. Not that the work of ending homelessness has been slow, or that my life is boring. I started writing a couple of years ago during the pandemic to release the thoughts and stresses from mind, a very selfish action. I need to be in the appropriate mind space to write and share.... forcing it is not as effective. At the same time, people have asked about when I will write and share again. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder? I will do my best to pick up the pace of writing and sharing from the Front Lines here at HSC.
To bring everyone up to speed, the Human Services Campus (HSC) Street Outreach Team counted 558 unsheltered individuals in the neighborhood around us this week. This is down from almost 900 in the last week of July. The combined efforts to offer people indoor spaces and impede camping on public spaces around us has led to the decrease. The Team finds people further away from the Campus. Collectively in four spaces on the Campus 900 people spend the night indoors on beds and mats on floors.
Treading water. It feels a bit like treading water, this work of addressing homelessness. At the same time Phoenix summer did not bring much of a monsoon effect when it comes to precipitation. There has been wind and dust, humidity, and forceful rays of sun. The people living outdoors and unsheltered construct and reconstruct structures from all types of materials. The devastation is seen in the fraying edges of tarps, the mixture of fabrics, the inside-outsideness of canopies and umbrellas. On a morning after the rain, the fences are covered with clothes and blankets seeking the sun to dry them out.
We begin to envision Phoenix autumn as the hours of day light start to diminish. An order of blankets from the Federal government has been placed in anticipation of cooler nights. Planning is underway for the 19th Annual Mike McQuaid I am Home Breakfast (save December15th on your calendars). Conversations continue with multiple partners about long term systems change, with a heavy emphasis on prevention (keeping more people housed!). [Read More...]