The summer is in full-swing here in Flagstaff. With temperatures rising to record highs, the forests surrounding our town are drying out and we are all prepping emergency responses with the full forest closures that took effect as of June 23rd. The City of Flagstaff is in Stage 4 of fire restrictions, and per usual Flagstaff Shelter Services is a part of the backbone of the City’s emergency response to forest closures. With so many of our unhoused neighbors choosing to camp out in the surrounding forests during the summer months, when that becomes unsafe Flagstaff Shelter Services is standing by to provide overflow shelter for anyone and everyone who needs it.
FSS has been an integral part of the City’s Forest Restrictions and Closures Plan for years, and in partnership with Flagstaff’s emergency services and other supportive agencies, we are ready for whatever challenges that will arise this summer. FSS has access to increased staff ready to step in and we have additional locations available in case we receive more than our Huntington Drive location can handle. By utilizing donated church spaces and purchasing hotel rooms as needed, we will be able to continue to give essential, emergency shelter to everyone who comes to our door.
We have been back in our congregate shelter space for more than two months and we are so proud and grateful to announce that we have had ZERO positive cases of Covid-19 since moving back. This is completely thanks to the strong work of North Country Healthcare’s team. Because of NCHC more than 271 FSS clients and staff have received the Covid-19 vaccination! We have been able to slowly and carefully come back to a new sense of normal at our shelter.
This is essential, especially as we are preparing to be able to accommodate increased numbers of folx who no longer have the option of camping in the woods. We are continuing to take every precaution, and we are so grateful for the show of support from this community as we continue to provide emergency shelter to all those in need. We know that there will continue to be challenges, but we are more confident than ever in the essential nature of the services that we provide. Whether it is a global pandemic or threat of forest fires, we are dedicated to being the boots on the ground for the folx who don’t have anywhere else to go. This work is indispensable.