By Merl Waschler and Mike McQuaid
During the recent Arizona StandDown, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton celebrated an incredible accomplishment – Phoenix is the first city in the nation to end chronic homelessness among veterans. This is a huge step forward as a community. We applaud his dedication to this important work and know it’s the first step toward a larger goal.
That’s why Valley of the Sun United Way, the City of Phoenix and nearly 30 other organizations have come together with the goal of ending chronic homelessness in the Valley by Jan. 1, 2016.
Meeting our aggressive goal requires connecting more than 55 households per month to permanent supportive housing. This approach provides more than a place to live. It combines housing with medical, mental health, independent-living skills, substance-abuse treatment and educational and vocational services needed to ensure a permanent transition off the streets.
By ending chronic homelessness, resources will be available for families and individuals who experience episodic homelessness due to traumatic life events such as a job loss or health issues.
Here’s how we can meet the goal of ending chronic homelessness:
As a community, we must believe and agree that leaving people on the streets is costly and unacceptable.
Merl Waschler is President and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way. Mike McQuaid is co-chairman of United Way’s Ending Homelessness Advisory Council and President of JM Management.