Category Archives: Homelessness

ASU student-led event, Dec. 5, to spotlight plight of Phoenix homeless

[Source: Janessa Hilliard, Special for The Republic] — A few extra homeless will be sleeping on the streets of downtown Phoenix on Friday night.  Arizona Student Public Interest Research Group, in affiliation with students at Arizona State University, is hosting an overnight campout to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness.  The event will take place on First Friday from 9 p.m. until midnight in the Shade Garden outside Taylor Place, the student residential complex on the ASU Downtown campus.

The students plan to spend the night sleeping in makeshift box housing and sleeping bags, creating what they are a calling Box City.  In addition, those attending the First Friday art walk, will see students dressed to appear as part of the “homeless” community, carrying signs proclaiming “Keep Your Coins, We Want Change.”  The goal is to educate fellow students and the public about the growing plight of the homeless in the Phoenix area.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

On Nov. 1-3, watch PHX11 to learn foreclosure prevention tips

PHX11 viewers can learn foreclosure prevention tips by watching a one-hour special, “Foreclosures: What You Need to Know,” which features a panel discussion among housing experts. Representatives from Community Housing Resources of Arizona (CHRA), Phoenix Association of Realtors, and city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department present options to avoid foreclosure and explain how to seek assistance from area housing counselors.  The panel also explores the advantages and disadvantages of short sales, plus the responsibilities of a homeowner who is in a foreclosure situation. In addition, questions from the audience are answered.

The program will air on PHX11 at the following times: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1; 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2; 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 3; and 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3. PHX11 is the city’s award-winning, 24-hour cable news and information television station. The station has been providing news, information and entertainment for Phoenix residents since 1984. For additional program replay times, click here.

Metro Phoenix homeless population growing

[Source: Dennis Lambert, KTAR Radio] — The Valley’s homeless population is growing.  Mark Holleran of Central Arizona Shelter Services said the population at the shelter in downtown Phoenix has jumped from about 550 a night to more than 1,000 over the last three years.   “Our numbers have grown probably 10 percent in the last year alone,” Holleran said.  “We think absolutely that it’s economy driven.

“The real problem I have right now is not serving people when they come in, but figuring out where they’re going to go to.  My job is to move them through the shelter system as quickly as possible.”  Eight percent of those seeking services are single adults, many of whom have addiction and correction issues, Holleran said.  CASS turns away homeless families every day because there’s simply not enough room.

Muslim-operated food bank in midtown Phoenix helps families fill the gaps

[Source: Lawn Griffiths, East Valley Tribune] — The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began Monday.  Among many things, it is a time when Muslims are called to practice charity, or zakat, to the needy at the same time they practice fasting during daylight hours.  In the Valley and in 17 major U.S. cities today, the national Islamic Relief Foundation is hosting the Day of Dignity “to give Muslims an opportunity to fulfill their Ramadan obligation to help the needy.”

The Cultural Cup Food Bank, a Muslim-operated food bank in midtown Phoenix, is leading the Day of Dignity effort, which actually began Friday and runs through Sunday, intentionally bridging the three days in order to be an interfaith project that can better involve Christians, Jews, and Muslims whose weekend days of worship vary.  The main activities will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Human Services Campus, 1125 W. Jackson St., Phoenix, when more than 200 volunteers will distribute food, clothing, hygiene items, and toys. There will be health screenings for those in need. “It brings people from different faiths and backgrounds together in a common effort to relieve the suffering of those in need,” said Zarinah Awad, founder and director of the Cultural Cup.

Awad started the food bank in her home in 2003.  “I knew a lot of families, Muslim families, and immigrant Muslims that needed help with food, so I started this out of my home,” Awad said.  Some of the economic problems, she said, were related to a backlash toward Muslims in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.  Her efforts snowballed, and she secured a small building in downtown Phoenix from which to dispense food and clothing. Then it moved into a larger building at 537 E. Osborn Road, where it barely has enough space for a food pantry, offices, and a Saturday wellness clinic.

Few know a Muslim food bank exists, Awad acknowledged.  There may even be the stereotype that Muslims take care of their own needy, as is especially seen in such faiths as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “Muslims are just like anybody else,” she said.  “We live here in the United States, and we are suffering with the economy like anybody else.  It is affecting us, too.”  She said Muslim refugees arrive in the Valley and may have great difficulty finding jobs.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Survey aims to help plight of Phoenix homeless

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton, Arizona Republic] — Levi Caddell’s comments came near the end of the meeting, but he seemed to provide one of the clearest reasons why those around him had gathered at the Phoenix hotel today.  “Three years ago, I was a homeless vet on the streets of Phoenix,” he said.  “But the system works.  They gave me my life back.”  Caddell, 56, was giving thanks to the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Central Arizona Shelter Services, and other groups in the Valley that help the homeless.  Caddell now serves as a veteran support specialist for CASS in Phoenix.  His is just one success, VA employees said.  They want more.

It was why they brought together representatives of non-profit groups and organizations that assist the homeless or veterans.  The meeting was part of an initiative by Project CHALENG, a federal Department of Veterans Affairs program that stands for Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education, and Networking Groups.  Each year, leaders of Project CHALENG ask groups or organizations assisting the homeless to fill out a survey to help discover the unmet needs of homeless veterans.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Which downtown Phoenix “character area” do you live/work in?

In early July, the Phoenix City Council voted to adopt the Downtown Plan, a vision for future growth, neighborhoods, and parking, and the first part of the Urban Form Project.  The Plan defines Character Areas within the plan boundaries (roughly bound by Seventh Avenue, Buckeye Road, Seventh Street and McDowell Road) with the goal of ensuring that city planning and zoning decisions stay consistent with the Character Areas.  So what Character Area do you live and/or work in?  Click here and then go to the specific page(s) of interest:

  • Arizona State University (page 3-10)
  • Biomedical (page 3-33)
  • Business Core (page 3-7)
  • East McDowell (page 3-27)
  • Evans Churchill (page 3-29)
  • Government (page 3-39)
  • Light Rail (page 3-10)
  • Park Neighborhoods (page 3-47)
  • Roosevelt (page 3-15)
  • Seventh Avenue (page 3-18)
  • Townsend Park (page 3-25)
  • Van Buren (page 3-35)
  • Warehouse (page 3-42)
  • West McDowell (page 3-23)

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, contact Dean Brennan, Principal Planner, Phoenix Planning Department, by e-mail or phone at 602-262-4499.

Cuts made to Arizona Housing Trust Fund

[Source: Teresa Brice, Local Initiatives Service Corp.] — I wanted to share the information LISC received on the impact on the Arizona Housing Trust Fund from the proposed state budget that is going to Governor Janet Napolitano for approval.  Essentially, it was the Senate budget, not the House version, that received approval to be sent to the Governor.  This included a $8.2 million cut to the Trust Fund (instead of the $30 million cut by the House), and $583,000 for program cuts (not $3.1 million).  There was no indication that a change in the funding formula was made.  While the session has not closed yet, this looks pretty certain.

LISC wishes to express its thanks to some groups that stepped up to its call for advocacy and sent information to their members, including AARP, Arizona Public Health AssociationArizona Bankers Association, and Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition (PAFCO).

You may want to send a note of thanks to the Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate and a special note of thanks to Republicans who supported the budget sent to the Governor: On the House side, Reps. Reagan, Burns, Hershberger, and Mason.  On the Senate side: Senators Allen, Bee, O’Halleran, and Tibshraeny.  You can use this website to find e-mail and phone numbers.  You may also want to send a quick note to the Governor to voice your opinion.

County trade could get city Pappas land

[Source: Yvonne Wingett, Arizona Republic, June 18, 2008] — Maricopa County and the city of Phoenix will start negotiations on a land swap that includes a hot downtown parcel that housed the Thomas J. Pappas school for the homeless.  At meetings today, elected officials on both sides are expected to authorize agreements that will allow the negotiations on the property in downtown Phoenix to advance.  Potential suitors have been speculating about the future of the four-acre parcel since last summer.

Under a likely scenario, the county would trade the property and a one-acre parcel across the street, currently occupied by a district-administration building.  The land, south of Fillmore Street along Fifth Avenue, is zoned commercially and is valued by the county assessor at about $8.2 million.  In exchange, the city could hand over rights to parts of Madison Street, from First to Fifth avenues, needed by the county to build a massive criminal-court tower project.

The city could also give the county more land or funds to even out the deal.  Both sides are getting their properties appraised.  “We hope we have a fair exchange monetarily, and we hope that the city of Phoenix does something good with the property that will make the neighborhood happy and will improve the downtown,” said Jim Bloom, chief of staff to county Supervisor Andy Kunasek.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Help Phoenix’s homeless stay cool this summer

When the temperatures soar and the hot summer days are upon us, many homeless people who live on the streets do not have their basic needs met.  The city of Phoenix requests people to donate the following items — unopened water bottles, sunscreen, new underwear, white socks, white T-shirts, and pre-packaged snack items such as individually wrapped cookies and crackers — that will be distributed to the homeless.  Click here for more information.

Idea of the Day: Put Homeless in Homes

From time to time, we’ll throw out an “Idea of the Day” culled from sources here in Arizona and elsewhere.  The following idea was highlighted in a May 23, 2008 Arizona Republic article, “Phoenix may use Seattle program to battle homelessness,” by reporter Casey Newton.  Here’s what it’s all about.

Phoenix could overhaul its approach to reducing homelessness this year using an approach credited with dramatically improving conditions in Seattle.  Phoenix is considering adopting a model of treating homelessness known as Housing First, in which homeless families are given housing even if one or more members of the household is abusing substances.  Traditional homelessness programs require residents to be sober before they can move into housing.  But social workers have found it difficult to get their clients off drugs or alcohol if the clients do not have safe, stable housing.  Phoenix does not itself maintain any beds for homeless services.  But it does fund organizations that do.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]