It has been a heavy couple of weeks across the U.S. We, as the Flagstaff Shelter Services Board and staff have been taking time to reflect and we would like to say a few words regarding the current social unrest facing our nation. We know that racial inequity is a dominant and shameful narrative that permeates all areas of American life – and social and housing services agencies are not exempt from this. By transforming the way we care for diverse individuals experiencing homelessness, Flagstaff Shelter Services aims to provide services that are effective, efficient, and equitable.
Using guidance from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, we have and will continue to evaluate racial and cultural disparities among the homeless services system as we carefully tailor our programs to address these disparities. We are not perfect, as an agency nor as individuals. But we can guarantee that we will show up, listen, and act in a way that affirms the dignity and rights of all humans. We encourage you to read the article below to continue a humble dialogue regarding this topic. Our hearts hurt for so many at this time, and we will continue to do the work to pursue equity across our agency.
Ross Altenbaugh is the executive director at Flagstaff Shelter Services, the largest emergency shelter in northern Arizona. The nonprofit is open around the clock to anyone in crisis, regardless of faith, mental health or sobriety. In addition to offering emergency shelter for individuals, the organization also provides permanent, stable housing to families experiencing homelessness. An average of two families a week are moved into permanent housing and more than 85 percent of them do not return to homelessness.