Humanity. Compassion. Equal Opportunity.

 In Reflections
Reflections from the Front Lines

Humanity. Compassion. Equal Opportunity.

Fighting for the greater good one season at a time.

An excessive heat warning is issued for 10 am Wednesday through 8 pm Friday. Afternoon temperatures of 108 and 113 are expected.

We know there are hundreds of unsheltered individuals around the Key Campus and thousands across Maricopa County. Local government has worked to open more cooling centers and hydration stations, and they have worked to open them earlier in the year. Information is shared here: https://hrn.azmag.gov/

At the Campus we are in full-on heat relief mode. I find myself moving more slowly to triple check that people outdoors are breathing and that they know where to go to be indoors. We are ensuring that staff in any outdoor roles are rotating with others to limit the length of time they have to be working outdoors. It’s a heightened awareness that will remain through September, and possibly extend into October.

There is no slow period in this work. Homelessness doesn’t take a summer break.

The Arizona State Legislature did take a break, and they are back in action this week. Two bills that create housing choice and opportunity were signed by Governor Hobbs on May 21. Keys to Change believes that all Arizonans deserve access to permanent, affordable housing. As the rate of households falling into homelessness continues to be two times the pace of moving homeless into housing, we have advocated for a variety of efforts to create more housing. One of the bills legalizes accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in urban municipalities with populations over 75,000. The other authorizes the construction of duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and other developments on parcels zoned for single family development. We thank the legislature for ironing out bipartisan solutions, and we thank Governor Hobbs for signing them into law.

While these two efforts don’t solve for the entirety of Arizona’s gap in housing, they provide pathways to options that were not previously available here. Density is not popular with everyone. However the population is here. The landscape is changing. Arizona is changing.

Other reflections, things on my mind right now that are more difficult to articulate. At times the homeless services bubble is insulation from the rest of the world, heck even from the rest of the country. Some days there is no time to read the news, maybe to glimpse headlines. If I read in depth, then it’s easy to be carried off to other issues and to feel like there are other things I should be doing. Other issues to work on, rallying to be done, and advocacy to participate in. Yet there are still 24 hours to each day, and the reality is I am here and am called to focus on homelessness and housing. “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Humanity. Compassion. Equal opportunity. Words that are on my mind.

Wherever we are. Whatever the challenges. Life and death issues, inequality, and unfairness, they exist across the globe.

To be in the present, to live in the now, is a way for me to make it through the daunting realities that can be life sucking and soul draining. To refuse to live in that negative space is a rebellion in and of itself.

We are fighters here at Keys to Change, individually and organizationally. Fighting for the greater good one season at a time.

About Keys to Change and Key Campus

Keys to Change (formerly HSC, Inc.) is the overarching organization that owns and manages Key Campus (formerly Human Services Campus) where 15 independent nonprofit organizations power a collaborative force united on one campus to end homelessness. Located just west of downtown Phoenix, Key Campus sees more than 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. Keys to Change is a compassionate connector and strategic partner in a leadership role working to end homelessness. For more information, visit www.hsc-az.org.

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