Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President of Community Impact for Valley of the Sun United Way, recently attended by special invitation a White House summit of federal government, corporate and private foundation, and non-profit leaders engaged in the work of ending veteran homelessness. For Amy, the discussion proved that the strategic initiatives successfully employed in our community to end chronic homelessness among our veteran population, can and should be applied to ending homelessness for everyone in the Valley.
By age 11, Anthony Arellanes had a criminal record for vandalizing his elementary school. A year later, he was seen tossing a chemical bomb into a bathroom at a Boys and Girls Club.
“I was on a bad path,” Anthony recalls, more than 20 years later. His path began in South Central Los Angeles where his father was well-known in both criminal and law enforcement circles as one of the biggest heroin dealers in the area.
It’s easy to complain when temperatures soar above 100 degrees; but people experiencing homelessness brave the brutal heat 24/7 which can be dangerous and potentially deadly.
See someone on the street? Help them hydrate, find refuge or emergency shelter sites with this Heat Relief Map
Ask Levi’s mother, Katie, and she’ll tell you that one of his favorite books is The Goodnight Walk, by Elisha Cooper. It is the story of a mother and child who take a walk down the block to the bay. As they turn to walk back home, evening falls upon the neighborhood, and they begin to notice all the little changes that have occurred in the short time since they started their journey.
Because of the needs of people in our community, like Lawrence, we at United Way set a high bar for ourselves, our partners and the Valley. We work hard every day to achieve our community objectives, including to End Homelessness. Although some might scoff and say it isn't possible, we believe it is. We believe that by changing systems away from a focus on managing homelessness to one of ending homelessness, we will, as a community, make homelessness a vestige of the past.
I rediscovered the joy of first-time volunteering at Project Connect, a monthly event that provides resources people in our community –experiencing or on the brink of homelessness--to start their journey back to health, financial stability and housing.
With our partners, United Way is working to develop 1,000 permanent supportive housing units. Additionally, we are building a $15 million endowment to ensure the ongoing funding needed to end all chronic homelessness our community.