Photo by Les Stukenberg.
PRESCOTT — The road to ending homelessness is far from straight, indeed, those who are involved in efforts to do so will say they are often staggering to forge a straight path because there simply isn’t one.
Makes sense, then, the homeless clients who have found safe haven in the Coalition for Compassion and Justice’ soon-to-be social justice center refer to it as the “Stagger Straight” Community shelter.
Veterans United, one of the nation’s top 10 official lenders, can be reached through its website at: www.veteransunite...
The Madison Avenue facility bought on behalf of CCJ in October opened a month later as an emergency shelter for no more than 55 homeless men and women; the largest such space in Prescott. On most nights, the shelter has between 45 and 50 guests between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.
CCJ Executive Director Paul Mitchell will be the first to say the shelter is not a “panacea” but rather a step toward helping this area’s homeless connect to the services they need so they can live in a permanent home with dignity and purpose.
He and many of his fellow nonprofit providers have spent the last year seeking solutions to what is a complex problem that plaques every city in the nation, large or small.
Thanks to U.S. VETS Initiative Executive Director Carole Benedict, a collective partnership of nonprofit agencies was forged early in the year and are making strides, both on a short-term and long-term basis.
“Homelessness is simply too large and too complex of an issue for one sector to tackle and solve alone,” reads a partnership flier. “The concept of collective impact hinges on the idea that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large scale, they need to coordinate their efforts and work together around clearly defined goals. Using a common agenda, aligning our efforts, and using shared measurements of success will strengthen not only our community partnerships, but will enable our communities to achieve powerful results.”
Beyond the new emergency shelter, the partnership is celebrating these new services and accomplishments:
• Second Chance Housing – donated and renovated RV trailers and mobile homes; this is a CCJ-operated program. To date, CCJ has been donated and occupied eight units; they hope to add at least three new ones this year. For more information, call CCJ at 928-445-8382.
• Disabled American Veterans Resource Center, 337 N. Rush St., a daytime resource center for the homeless that also has apartments to house up to four homeless veterans. For more information, call the DAV at 928-445-4525.
• The 30-in-90 Initiative: A plan to house 30 homeless residents in 90 days. Started in September by four local nonprofits, and 20 homeless have so far been placed.
• UpCycle, a collaborative between Yavapai County Community Health Services, Bike Prescott and the city of Prescott to restore abandoned and donated bicycles for homeless and low-income individuals in need of transportation. The project has been piloted through the Prescott Area Women’s Shelter on Rush Street. For more information, call Health Services at 928-583-1000.
• The Northern Arizona Veteran Affairs Health Care System has initiated a 90-day step program, providing 20 beds for homeless veterans who may need a higher level of care. For more information, call 928-445-4860.
• The VA has received 10 additional federal housing vouchers; four veterans have so far been placed in permanent residences.
• Catholic Charities has been awarded funding to operate two re-entry homes for homeless women who are leaving the prison system. The agency is seeking one home in Prescott and one in Cottonwood. For more information, call 928-778-2531
• Catholic Charities opened a home this year on Willow Creek Road to house four homeless veterans.
• Catholic Charities is now seeking to refurbish a former Prescott motel into 28 new affordable housing units.
• A coordinated entry and case management consultation program is being piloted a veteran-by-name list to identify veterans and the services they have received, and may still require. The expectation is this will eventually expand to all homeless clientele.
• Goodwill is supporting Agape house by helping sponsor nights of shelter for families. For more information, call 928-910-1089.
• The Salvation Army continues to host the Operation Deep Freeze winter shelter on qualifying nights when the weather is below freezing temperatures. For more information, call 928-778-0150.
• The Northern Arizona Homeless Veteran Stand Down served 300 homeless veterans in September.
• On Jan. 24, the state-required Point-In-Time count of shelter and unsheltered homeless individuals and families across Yavapai County and northern Arizona.