An energy that propels me and the campus
It has been ten days since my last post.
My personal COVID situation continues to improve. I’m still not 100% and sometimes wonder if I ever will be. The fatigue and tiring sooner in the day than I like is the most frustrating. Then there’s the loss of smell. I never really realized before that smell keeps us safe. From things like expired coffee creamer, not to mention things burning/ overheating, and so forth. I found myself feeling jealous of “healthy” people this week. I know everyone has issues. And I am not unhoused or unsheltered. Still, I long for some higher level of energy. There is much to do!
Things to do:
- Celebrate the now public news that the Human Services Campus is receiving $7.5M from the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority towards the Mike McQuaid Legacy Fund! Not only does this put us much closer to our $25M goal, it allows to renovate three buildings – one possibly 100 years old, one that will have a second story, and another that will be redesigned – all for the purpose of more client-centric services designed to be healthy environments. I keep pinching myself as I realize it’s true! – that we will able to bring visions and designs to life and work to make the Human Services Campus a community point of pride.
- Thank the HSC team for hiring and training sufficient staff to keep the Brian Garcia Welcome Center open 24 hours per day. Tonight is night five, and as the word gets out, more people are coming in for services, connection, toilets, and support. People experiencing homelessness have that experience 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. There are no “weekends.” No “holidays.” Crisis can happen at any moment. And for the unsheltered, we now have more capacity to connect with people when they are ready.
- Also thank HSC staff for opening a “Safe Storage Program,” in order to give people an organized, safe, accessible space to store belongings. “Stuff” should not be a barrier to connecting with services.
- Smile at the joy I saw on staff and clients’ faces today during a client holiday party on the Campus lawn. The staff planned activities, based on client suggestions, and went all out to organize games and arts/crafts. There was music, dancing, prizes. And there were smiles. I hope that maybe for a few moments people could put their concerns and fears out of their minds… and that they simply enjoyed a sunny Phoenix winter day.
- Finalize the Mike McQuaid I am Home Breakfast that happens next Friday at 7:30 am. I have not drafted my remarks yet. I will. And the program will include stories of transformation and presentation of the MVP Award. We still have some space for people who want to attend in person, and the capacity for the online live stream is unlimited. More information is available at hsc-az.org
- Continue to focus on client feedback and update/redesign service delivery. We are not perfect. Clients are able to write grievances to report issues they have with staff, security, the space, really anything. They are our reason for being, our “why.” We can do better. We will do better. It’s not for us to blame, it’s for us to understand and support people on their journey from street to home.
There’s more, there’s always more. Looking back at the last ten days, there is much to be grateful for, including the many people who support our work and support me. My heart is full with gratitude. That’s an energy that propels me and the HSC to continue every day.
So take that COVID.
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.