Written on 9/1/22. It’s been 8 days since my last post and 40 weeks since losing my sense of smell. No new smells noted; fake smells and wafts of scents that disappear when I breathe deeply and try to smell them. I was so close to smelling coffee, and poof it was gone.
This strange effect on my sense of smell is something I am growing used to. One day if I smell pleasant things, I will be so pleasantly surprised. And it makes me wonder if this process is at all similar to what people go through when they are without housing, without shelter. I observe the living on pavement, in dirt, tarps, and tents that tatter in the breeze. Is it really something people “get used to”? The excessive heat watch this week was oppressive for my one hour standing outside at a time; I watch the hundreds of people who live outdoors and wonder how they don’t all die.
And I realize four years into this role at the Human Services Campus, I am also getting more used to the ups and downs, the roller coaster that is accomplishment and devastation at the same time. It’s a constant. And I suppose if one didn’t get used to it, they wouldn’t last long working in this type of environment.
This week we had a Project Connect event adjacent to the Campus to engage with those who don’t connect with our services or don’t connect often. About 250 people took the opportunity to meet with a dozen or so service providers. I watched one woman in pure awe that she would be able to receive assistance with a duplicate ID, right there, on the spot. Music played. The sun bore down. Our Councilwoman visited and sweated right alongside staff and clients.
Today the HSC Outreach Team counted 862 individuals as unsheltered in our neighborhood. After a decrease several weeks ago, the number is now on the rise again. As a community, according to Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) data, in June, 1,281 households were new to homelessness, and 503 people moved into housing. That’s something like two steps forward, and three steps back? [Read More...]