Vision of a Champion

 In Reflections
Reflections from the Front Lines

Vision of a Champion

From the 2021 Mike McQuaid I am Home Breakfast

Today, the Human Services Campus will serve some 800 to 1,000 individuals. Adaptation to COVID is now a regular operating procedure. Right now Circle the City is providing a vaccine clinic on the Campus lawn.

We are past the heat of Phoenix summer. The temporary lawn shades, evaporative coolers and misting systems are gone. The sun won’t hit the Campus lawn directly until mid-day. At 6 pm it will be dark. The chill in the air means it’s cold on the concrete. We will shelter nearly 700 people tonight, close to 500 in CASS and over 160 in temporary COVID relief shelters in the Lodestar Day Resource Center and the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room.

My concerns over heat-related deaths shift towards the danger of being exposed overnight to cold temperatures. Right now there are nearly 500 unsheltered individuals in the area immediately around the Campus.

Right now, the Brian Garcia Welcome Center first shift will be transitioning from the third shift, as we are now open 24 hours per day, every day. The Day Room is open and people will stream inside for access to nearly a dozen services.

The HSC multi-disciplinary street outreach team will be engaging and connecting with as many of the 242 people who are unsheltered and actively working with us as possible.

Today, our new SOAR specialists will be assisting clients who are eligible for social security and social security disability income to complete their applications, leading them to a stable income.

Right now, people are lining up to see if any mail is at the Campus post office. Some will walk to the brand new Safe Storage Program to check in belongings that we will hold for them until they need them back.

Today we are here to celebrate those who benefit from some or all of the services and move from street to home. And today we are here to honor Mike McQuaid. Today I share that the Mike McQuaid Legacy Fund, started with an investment from the Garcia Family Foundation is at 76% of the $25M goal.

The Fund will allow us to advance the HSC mission and the vision of our champion Mike McQuaid, to end homelessness for everyone.

A very visible element of the Fund is renovation projects. Thanks to Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority’s recent approval of $7.5M we will be launching the improvement projects in the former Men’s Overflow Shelter, the Brian Garcia Welcome Center, and the Lodestar Day Resource Center. Renovation will give all 16 partner organizations access to space designed for clients with their input and employee input. To create healthy space, with greater heat equity, increased wayfinding, more daylight in buildings, and efficient use of space. Vision 2.0 for the Campus is to be a community point of pride. The people we serve and the employees deserve a space that works for them, that supports them, and helps healing.

The next few years will mean a whole new level of adaptation and change. From our experience with COVID, we, our partners, our employees, and volunteers, have demonstrated the resiliency to thrive through the chaos.

The Legacy Fund will not only help with physical space and health equity, it will help with sustainable funding for staffing, professional development, and direct client services to increase racial equity.

Today, black, indigenous, people of color experience homelessness at higher rates than white people. The systems that contribute to this can be rebuilt. HSC is committed to using data, advocacy, and whatever it takes to reduce the disparity.

Why? Because we believe everyone deserves safe, permanent, affordable housing.

Thank you for being here today and supporting us for a new tomorrow.

Be kind. Wash your hands. Share (except your germs). Be anti-racist. Listen first to seek to understand. Dream big and act. Love your peeps.

Be like Mike.

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.

View the 2020-2021 Annual Report

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