• November 16, 2015 12:49 PM | Anonymous

    It’s almost time for the homeless sector of the nonprofit world’s favorite week of the year. No, not Christmas or Thanksgiving, but National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week! That’s right folks, please try your hardest to hold the applause. If you’re sitting at home scratching your head thinking what on earth is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, don’t worry because you’re looking at the right blog! Sit back,  relax, and we’ll start from the beginning.

    Every year, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (NHHAW for short) is put on the week before Thanksgiving. Since this is a time we are thinking about what we are thankful for, there’s no better time to share these blessings with people who are homeless. Each year, there is a  main topic for the week. In the Past, themes focused on included youth and “Bringing America Home”. This year’s focus is on the laws passed by local governments around the nation which prevent people from participating in life sustaining activities (like this or this). Well, who the heck started this? Good question! The National Coalition for the Homeless, which has been around since 1982, “works to prevent and end homelessness while insuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.“

    I know by now you’re sitting at home, itching to make a difference with the homeless community. I mean, why wouldn’t you? But the problem is, you don’t know how. Don’t worry, because we can help you with that.

    If you are interested in donating items such as clothes, food, monetary donation, etc., you can bring these items to the Lodestar Day Resource Center. This organization  just asks that you coordinate any donations with staff, so they can be utilized to the fullest effect. You can contact Rebecca Rivas at (623) 256-1796 or

    Another organization we’d like to highlight is MEB Management Services. In addition to holding a Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week within just their organization earlier this year, they are participating in NHHAW throughout all of their offices, urging their team members to participate in at least two activities that advocate for the homeless. MEB is a real estate service driven to provide affordable homes, apartment units, and commercial management for the public. Their purpose is to enrich the lives of clients, residents, and team members by creating value. From playing homeless advocacy movies to handing out 211 cards (by calling 211 you can learn about different organizations that help the homeless), making and passing out “Bags of Hope” (which come with some food, napkins and a 211 card) to holding a Sock-A-Roma Day (where team members wear fun socks to bring awareness to not only their sock drive but to NHHAW). From November 14-22, MEB invites you to bring your pre-bagged donations of food or socks to their corporate offices so they can donate them to local nonprofits that focus on hunger or homelessness. If you are interested in bringing items to their Tucson office located at 120 E Congress St, contact Sharon Stewart at (520) 620-1640, their Flagstaff office located at 1600 W University Ave Suite 104, contact Sharon Beck or Evette at (928) 214-7267, or their Phoenix office located at 1215 E. Missouri Ave, contact Jayanne Baker at (602) 279-5515.

    Crossroads Mission in Yuma is also hosting a slew of events throughout the week. Crossroads Mission is a Christian nonprofit dedicated to helping those who come to a “crossroads” in their lives. They offer individualized programs that help those with chemical dependencies and individuals who are homeless. Starting on Sunday, November 15, Crossroads Mission is holding a kick-off event at Gateway Park located at S Gila St. This event is from 8:30 am-10 am and includes breakfast as well as a church service. On Tuesday November 17, Crossroads Mission is holding a brown bag club food drive all day for you to bring in a paper bag with non-perishable food items. You can drop off those bags to Crossroads Mission located at 944 S Arizona Ave.

    But don’t worry - they’re not forgetting the furry friends! They will also be collecting pet food to pass along to homeless friends and their pets. Wednesday will be even more fun filled with the Hunger and Homelessness Conference going on from 8am-12 noon with a deluxe continental breakfast starting at 7:30 am. This conference’s main focus is to teach volunteers and social work agencies’ staff in the Yuma area on the unique challenges in the community. Never fear! Admission to the conference is completely free  and is located at the American Legion 2575 S Virginia Dr. Later that night, from 3 pm- 6 pm (with a free dinner from 4 pm- 6 pm) they are holding a Soup-er Celebration of Hope at Crossroad Mission located at 944 S Arizona Ave where you can learn more about different agencies and all they can do for you! Finishing the week strong, there will be a family fun day and kickball event from 9 am - 2 pm at Carver Park which is at 13 Ave and 3 St. The schedule of events include a kickball competition from 9 am- 12 noon, followed by a hot dog lunch and an awards ceremony starting at 12:30.

    Don’t forget to come out to an event! If there’s an event you are unable to make it to, don’t worry! There isn’t just one season for giving.. Giving and volunteering is a year round event. Try to make it a habit!

  • November 09, 2015 8:30 AM | Anonymous

    Welcome to the AZCEH Blog, where we’ll post periodic thoughts on issues related to our vision to end homelessness.  In this space, we’ll provide insight and commentary on issues, trends, and news stories; highlight the efforts of our members and communities working together to end homelessness and we’ll share stories of individuals and families as they overcome challenges and barriers on the path out of homelessness.

    We want this blog to be a true dialogue and encourage your engagement.  Please be free with your comments and we welcome guest posts on issues related to this cause.

    To kick things off, here's a reflection on the work we've done in 2014 & 2015. This past year, Arizona’s community of service providers has become increasingly focused on our shared efforts to end homelessness in our state. With the statewide adoption of a common assessment tool (SPDAT - Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) and community-wide commitment to make data-driven decisions based on goals outlined in the HEARTH Act, we are honing in, with extreme precision, on the necessary mix of housing, services, and funding needed to end homelessness in our state. 

    • Increasing the capacity of our members by strengthening our off-conference training opportunities through partnerships with ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and t3: think. teach. transform., and in concert with the needs of our members.  We recently launched an extensive training calendar, aggregating all the training opportunities within our field and widely disseminating that information via one central location. 
    • Advocating at the system level on issues affecting people experiencing homelessness;
    • Broadening the scope of our legislative agenda to include the system level changes that create barriers for individuals experiencing homelessness to find affordable housing, access to healthcare, and sustain a livable wage necessary to end their homelessness;
    • Implementing a fundraising strategy to sustain the Coalition’s statewide growth, impact, and offerings;
    • Guiding the community’s adoption of the lessons and skills learned from Project H3 and Project H3 VETS as providers harness the momentum in reaching the federal strategic goal in ending veteran homelessness and then applying those best practices to the greater population.
    • We are proud that as a community, under the Project H3 VETS banner, we have housed 280 veterans with a 85% housing retention rate.
    • We believe ending homelessness in possible. It does not mean that no one will ever experience homelessness again. It does means that when an individual or family has a housing crisis, our community has the systems and resources in place to immediately identify and support them in rapidly getting back into housing. Therefore, community awareness and sustainable support remain ever critical to our state’s goal of ending homelessness.
    • Through the work of our Veteran partner agencies, Project H3 Vets, Valley of the Sun United Way, and the many different agencies involved in the 25 Cities initiative, we are working to not only house any newly-identified chronically homeless Veteran, but also Veterans that don’t meet the chronic definition.
    • As a community, we are broadening our scope to address and end homelessness for all high acuity Veterans who score in the “permanent supportive housing” range on our community's coordinated assessment tool.
    • Tangential to the efforts of Project H3 VETS and 25 Cities work in Maricopa, the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness is working to provide sustainable funding for communities in our state that host a StandDown event.  It is at these events where the necessary community stakeholders can collaborate to marshal the resources necessary to address and end homelessness for the veterans in these communities.  All of these activities take place under the Arizona Veteran StandDown Alliance banner.
    • To date, the Arizona Veteran StandDown Alliance has provided financial, technical and staffing support to StandDowns in Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Kingman, Phoenix, Prescott, Safford, Sierra Vista, and Tucson.

    Likewise, the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness has found a “sweet spot” in providing training and educational opportunities to serve as a benefit to our members and stakeholders.  After extensive feedback from our members, we are pleased with the results from our latest visioning process. We have refined the message of who we are – which is the voice for those working to end homelessness throughout Arizona.  We work for YOU, the member agencies and providers who toil tirelessly to end homelessness in our state. Join us on our blog where we look forward to sharing more in-depth the work that is being done by member agencies and our community. We look forward to accomplishing many goals and sharing them here as a way to increase communication.

    We, the board and staff of the Coalition, are excited about the direction of our organization moving forward. In short, our goals include:

    Highlights of the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness this past year

    The Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness and the Arizona Housing Alliance, have been leading the charge to restore the state housing trust fund, the only state resource devoted to addressing Arizona’s housing needs. The fund, created in 1988, is supported by the sale of unclaimed property, but it was swept by the Arizona Legislature during the economic downturn. Prior to budget cuts, the housing trust fund leveraged over $350 million in federal dollars annually, helped 10,000 Arizonans avoid homelessness, repaired dilapidated homes, created new jobs and revenue, and assisted first-time homebuyers with the purchase of their home. 

    We believe this is the year we’ll see an increase in the state housing trust fund.  But we need your help. Visit us at to learn how you can join this effort, lend your voice when a bill is introduced at the state Legislature, and educate your elected officials on the importance of restoring this fund to address housing and homelessness.

    Get Involved

     The Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness is led by its volunteer Board of Directors. This  group of experts within their respective field bring a wide range of talent from the private, public, and non-profit sectors across the state.  Many of our strongest leaders in ending homelessness are serving or have served on this distinguished Board or have been involved in one of our many planning committees. Please consider getting involved and strengthening our statewide impact in ending homelessness. Support our conference and education committee as we host statewide trainings that meet the needs of stakeholder’s work in ending homelessness. Help shape our policy agenda by participating in our legislative committee. Guide our membership committee in enriching our benefits and statewide reach. It’s imperative that we come together as a united, statewide voice, advocating and demonstrating the importance of funding, while also illustrating the collaboration necessary to end homelessness for our friends without homes in our great state.

    Again, we look forward to using this blog space to give a more in-depth look at the work that is being done by AZCEH member agencies and our community in ending homelessness in Arizona and beyond.  

    Find out more about how to Take Action and get involved.

  • September 29, 2011 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    You don’t need an expert to tell you that people working in homeless services are spread thin. You are tasked with some of the most challenging–and rewarding–work in the nation. You must juggle competing demands, face risk of burnout, and often have little access to training.

    That’s why we created t3: Think, Teach, Transform, a new training institute committed to supporting people working in homeless services. Our trainers come from the field and include former case managers, educators, clinicians, doctors and nurses, and consumers. We’ve trained thousands of homeless service providers across the nation for all the major homelessness training and technical assistance centers.

    We have learned that while many good training efforts exist, training is often haphazard or fragmented. Quality varies, and access to training is often limited by time constraints and travel budgets.

    To overcome these obstacles, we’ve brought together the very best of what we’ve learned and created t3 – a flexible model of online, onsite and blended learning that enables people to access a variety of learning opportunities on their own time, at their own pace, tailored to the needs of their agency and community. 

    t3 training is practical, skills-based, interactive, based in established core competencies and grounded in adult learning theory. We offer online, onsite, and blended training on evidence-based and promising practices like trauma-informed care, Motivational Interviewing, Critical Time Intervention, and more, in addition to basic knowledge about homelessness and subgroups within the homeless population.

    Throughout the learning process, we support individual providers and their agencies to think differently about the work they do, teach each other how they have overcome challenges, and transform their communities. 

    t3 has partnered with the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness to offer special member discounts. We invite you to join us on October 13, 2011 at 12 pm Pacific for a special webcast or drop by our resource table at the 18th Annual AZCEH Statewide Conference on Homelessness on October 17-18, 2011.

    To learn more, watch a video about t3’s approach to training or visit the t3 website. You can join our mailing list to receive periodic updates about training opportunities.

  • August 19, 2011 10:33 AM | Anonymous

    I can remember the first time I was introduced to People First Language, defined on Wikipedia as a “form of linguistic prescriptivism in English, aiming to avoid perceived and subconscious dehumanization when discussing people with disabilities.“  I was at a mental health conference when a panelist described the an Arizona state legislature, where I live, as schizophrenic.

    A gentleman that I did not know at the time stepped up to the microphone in the audience and stated rather firmly that the characterization was offensive.

    No, it wasn’t one of our esteemed state legislators!  This man, who is now a friend of mine, stated that he had schizophrenia himself.

    He went on to explain how using a condition or disability as the primary way of identifying a person or group of people is extremely harmful.  He did not want to be labeled a schizophrenic, as if his condition summed up all that he was.  He is a man that lives with schizophrenia, but his disability does not define him.

    It was an important moment for me, and I try diligently to focus on people – not conditions – in my speech, both professionally and personally.

    Words Matter

    Words matter.  The way that we construct language has an effect on how we see and understand the world.  Focusing on one’s condition or circumstances increases the likelihood that the listener identifies the person or people as “less than,” as “other,” and reduces the opportunity to identify with them as fellow human beings.

    We share so much more in common as members of a community with equal rights and responsibilities than we have differences.

    This phenomenon of labeling people and groups of people extends beyond the issue of disability.  Last week I attended and presented at the annual conference of the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).  NAHRO is the membership and advocacy organization for public housing authority and community development professionals.

    I’m proud to say that this year marked my 15th year as a NAHRO member.  I’m even more proud to learn from Community Solutions that NAHRO is now a partner in the 100,000 Homes Campaign – an absolutely monumental partnership in the world of homelessness.  NAHRO should be commended for their support of the campaign and I am truly excited to see how they demonstrate their support in their message and guidance to their members.

    Public housing authorities (PHAs) control the HUD Housing Choice Voucher program – formerly known as Section 8 – in their communities, which is an absolutely critical mainstream tool in ending homelessness.  The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) recently outlined actions that PHAs can take to become more involved in preventing and ending homelessness in their communities.

    While presenting to my colleagues at the AZNAHRO conference, I began to understand how labeling people based on their circumstances – in this case, as “homeless people” – continues to keep us from focusing on those with the worst case housing needs.

    In our discussion, I heard in my own voice and in others how the labeling and categorization of people impacted the conversation.  By focusing on the condition of homelessness for individuals and families, mainstream housing programs were not as easily thought of as solutions.

    There are targeted “homeless programs” for “that population.”  Some believe that PHAs need to focus on low-income and “working families” in their programs and that the non-profit and even faith-based sectors are better suited to assist “them.”  I don’t see it that way.

    When we attach labels to people, like “homeless,” we miss the fact that these individuals and families are people that are suffering.  They are members of our community that are perhaps the most vulnerable among us.  They are someone’s son or daughter; perhaps a parent, or grandparent.  They may be someone’s brother or sister, and may have served our country bravely in the military.  They’re certainly low-income!

    As we come together as communities to explore and develop new tools in the effort to end homelessness, I think it is important to choose our words carefully; especially as we bring new partners to the table.

    Some may call it political correctness run amok, but I’ve seen how people respond to this crisis when we frame this issue appropriately – when we look at homelessness as a temporary condition of an individual or family.  People experiencing homelessness have names, faces, stories and are members of our community.  When we discuss solutions to homelessness, we’ll do well to remember that it’s “us” – not “them.”

    Photo credit:  Henti Smith

  • August 18, 2011 12:16 AM | Anonymous

    Welcome to the AZCEH Blog, where we’ll post periodic thoughts on issues related to our vision to end homelessness.  In this space, we’ll provide insight and commentary on issues, trends, and news stories; highlight the efforts of our members and communities working together to end homelessness and we’ll share stories of individuals and families as they overcome challenges and barriers on the path out of homelessness.

    We want this blog to be a true dialogue and encourage your engagement.  Please be free with your comments and we welcome guest posts on issues related to this cause.

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