Laugh, think, plan, and have human connection.
It’s been eight days since my last post. 17 1/2 months of loss of smell.
Writing again to selfishly release this week. Sometimes a ten-hour day feels like 20 hours. And sometimes five days feel like eight or ten.
This week was that way. Many things happening that I won’t share because they would reveal the private details of people. Some things would paint people or organizations in a negative light. Some things would take pages and pages to write and fully describe.
Fortunately for every terrible, sad, negative thing, there was at least one positive, inspiring, supportive thing.
Valentine’s Day happened. I felt loved.
Several staff suffered personal emergencies. Multiple staff shared moments of success, they demonstrate teamwork, they live the mission.
More than one client struggled. One passed away due to natural causes as a participant in the bridge housing program; they had a room of their own, they were not unsheltered.
One funding source is threatened. We wait for word that we can proceed with projects that would serve more of the unsheltered population.
Three funding awards were made, not public yet, which will provide much needed support to the Respiro shelter and diversions. Two grant applications were submitted.
Numerous groups toured the Human Services Campus this week. I was able to show the Campus to an Arizona Republic reporter who had not visited before. One client during a couple of tours I gave stopped us to share his thoughts on the health effects of mobile phones. Another client asked for help with housing. And one happy, polite gentleman shared that he was about to move into permanent housing; he was nervous about moving into his own space and thought he might feel uncomfortable for a while, so he wants to adopt a dog.
Our Board had its monthly meeting with positive energy and lively discussion.
I attended a neighborhood meeting led by two Phoenix city council members. The meeting and topic was homelessness, however not specific to the HSC. It was in north Phoenix where there are growing numbers of unhoused and unsheltered people. Their concerns are valid. City staff explained thoroughly what the City has implemented and is working on. And, admittedly by all present, the addition of shelter and housing cannot happen fast enough.
I met with a group of nonprofit CEOs that helps me feel supported and affirms that I am not alone.
Twice today I was asked about my passion for this work of ending homelessness. Twice I described how I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m where I’m supposed to be. Once I was asked, “how do you know that?” My answer, is something to the effect of, because I enjoy what I do; I am in the direct service space, applying that experience to working on long-term systems change. I see a future where HSC has created long-lasting impact and the community is achieving functional zero. And, I can’t see myself anywhere else doing anything different from what I’m doing now. I don’t know where I would go and what I would do.
The give and take, the energy being sapped, and then restored. One life ending, and another life transforming. It’s the ebb and flow. I don’t get too attached to the highs nor the lows. I don’t spend too much time in the sadness, and I don’t spend too much time highly excited. If I can end the day with a sense of neutrality and balance, I’m good.
And I’m grateful for so many people. My husband, my colleagues, and peers, the people literally on the front lines with our clients. My friends, the faithful, the random text messages that make me laugh, think, plan, and have human connection. You bring me balance.
About the Human Services Campus
Founded in 2005, the Human Services Campus is a collaborative force of partner organizations united on one campus to end homelessness. Located just west of downtown Phoenix, 16 independent agencies on the Campus see nearly 1,000 individuals every day, offering a holistic range of client services including: reunification with family and friends; mental, physical and dental health; shelter; employment; meals; legal services and housing. Having all of these resources in one location with intra-agency communications makes it more feasible to provide a customized engagement for each client to help end their homelessness. For more information, visit www.hsc-az.org.