FirstEval-Melissa Kovacs


Services for the Homeless, all in one place

In 2005 Maricopa County, AZ opened the Human Services Campus – a one-stop shop for human service provision.  I had the privilege of touring the campus this past Thursday.  The HSC is home to CASS (Central Arizona Shelter Services), Maricopa County Healthcare for the Homeless, NOVA Safe Haven, St. Joseph the Worker, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Lodestar Day Resource Center.  It is much more than a shelter where one can eat, shower, and sleep. 

It amazed me what can be accomplished in one city block – clients can order lost birth certificates, apply for identification, have their teeth cleaned, receive mental and physical healthcare, set up a mailing address, search for employment, get new clothes for a job interview, cool off from the Arizona heat, and even take a yoga class, art class, guitar lesson, or peruse the library.  As well, the calendar is full of twelve-step meetings and veterans’ association meetings. 

Smartly, as a model of social entrepreneurship, clients have founded and are running JustB that manufactures and sells all natural soaps and body lotions. 

In the northeastern U.S., it seems that the homeless are sent all over town to accomplish these things – to city hall for proof of identification, to another building to apply for housing subsidies, etc.  What a model – everyone’s “running around town” efforts are valued.

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