The rain is here, and our incredible staff at FSS is constantly adapting to address the most pressing needs every day for people experiencing homelessness. With our community facing repeated rounds of flash flooding – caused by the burn scars created by the wildfires – new dangers are faced by our most vulnerable neighbors needing shelter from the storms. Unlike most weather events that are measured in days or weeks, monsoons are measured throughout seasons – and this time of year disproportionately affects people who are living in poverty and without access to the protection of safe housing…
Flagstaff Shelter Services (FSS) finalized the purchase of the Howard Johnson Motel at 3300 E. Rte. 66, Flagstaff, early this month, for expanded non-congregate shelter capacity (accommodations that provide private space for clients, such as hotel rooms.) The $6.19 million acquisition is possible thanks to the support of U.S. Senators and is funded by the Arizona Department of Housing’s access to $40 million in State Recovery Funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act.
New life and new beginnings are visible everywhere, especially at the Shelter. Covid has been hard for our team and our clients, and while the pandemic is by no means over, we are starting to feel the spring winds of change like a breath of new life through our doors. We are continuing to gain momentum and make big strides in housing and working with the most vulnerable people in our community – the chronically ill, folks dealing with serious mental illness, veterans, the elderly and the list goes on.
There really are SO many ways that you can support our organization and the people that we serve. One great option to ensure that your gifts will have a lasting impact on the lives of so many of our vulnerable neighbors for YEARS to come is to incorporate planned giving into your financial future preparation. There are many ways to do it –
Another big change that we have recently made is to the schedule for our emergency shelter operations. This shift has come as the result of hearing the needs of our clients, and making sure that our staff will be set-up to assist these neighbors all throughout the day and night. We made this change to ensure that clients with different schedules will have ample opportunity to use our day services and connect with FSS resources…
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.
It is well-known that the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Securities Act (the CARES Act) is coming through in big and necessary ways with direct financial relief for FlagShelter and so many other nonprofits around the country. What is less well-known is that the CARES Act also includes significant charitable giving benefits and tax relief with the new charitable income tax deduction.
Our work is unpredictable for so many reasons, but unpredictability becomes extremely consequential when it comes to needing to pay our employees for their hard days worked in risky environments, or when it comes to the choice of whether or not we can afford to keep 250 high-risk people sheltered and safe during a pandemic. As you can read in the article, Flagstaff shelter waits for federal relief funds to house COVID-free population, published yesterday by the AZ Daily Sun, we have been awaiting the release of COVID-related funding for too long at this point.
Amidst rising numbers of cases across Arizona, it is imperative that we continue to be able to give safe and separate shelter to those who have nowhere else to go. But these hotels and the restructuring of our operations, though extremely effective, has had an unimaginable financial strain on this agency.
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.
In our latest round of testing for COVID-19 for our clients and staff, the numbers of positive tests had reduced SIGNIFICANTLY from the previous round. This means that we are on the right track- that providing hotel rooms and finding permanent housing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness to quarantine themselves is the best and most immediate way for us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Life looks different for so many around the world as we change and evolve in response to COVID-19. For Flagstaff Shelter Services, our primary concern has been to reduce the number of people sleeping in our group shelter – which has a newly expanded capacity of 170 – down to a number that allows us to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing as much as a group-shelter possibly can. So we started renting blocks of rooms at local hotels, and transitioned all of our senior citizens and medically vulnerable clients to their own individual rooms.
Making sure every person experiencing homelessness in Flagstaff can shelter in place and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic means that we suddenly have 177 people living full time in a comparatively small space.
COVID-19 took many people off-guard in its rapid spread and after only two weeks, Flagstaff hospitals are already full. COVID-19 patients really have no choice but to self-isolate and try to recover at home. But what if you don’t have a home?
If you’ve never claimed the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, you’re missing out on a chance to decide where your tax dollars go — and it doesn’t cost you anything. There’s no downside to donating to charity in Arizona because every dollar you give to charity now will come back to you when you file your…
Ending homelessness in Flagstaff isn’t just possible, it’s very close to becoming a reality. If you’ve ever wondered “How can I help people in northern Arizona?” consider these easy ways to help put families into homes with little cost or effort on your part. Helping out doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.…
I hadn’t been in Flagstaff long when it became really obvious that there are a lot of people in plain sight here who need help. I’d been living on the East Coast where there are easy places to find cover and duck out of sight beneath a bridge or alongside the river. It’s different here – people sleep by the side of the road – living out in the open.
We are happy to report that construction is almost complete. We’ve just heard from the contractor that the project will be wrapped up by October 28th. As we prepare for winter, some have asked about contributing in-kind donations. We are always in need of things like sleeping bags, socks, and warm clothing as well as hygienic and cleaning supplies.
Flagstaff Shelter Services (FSS), the largest emergency shelter in Northern Arizona, today announced Raise to Rise, a fundraising initiative to raise $1,000,000 to support an expansion project that will increase the nonprofit’s capacity and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
With fire dangers forcing those experiencing homelessness out of area forests, Flagstaff Shelter Services is providing shelter to those who need it most, when they are in their season of greatest need.