“Raise to Rise” Calls on Region to Help Reduce Homelessness in Northern Arizona
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – 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.
The announcement was made at a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of a second story to the existing building and increase the shelter’s capacity by 77 beds, allowing FSS to provide shelter to 163 individuals onsite and up to 40 families off-site at a winter overflow shelter.
More than $700,000 has already been contributed through the generosity of lead supporters, including a Community Development Block Grant, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation Grand Slam Grant, and the Del E Webb Foundation. Additional donors can contribute online at www.flagshelter.org/raisetoraise or text RaisetoRise to 44321.
FSS is committed to an open door policy in which no one is turned away, regardless of faith, sobriety or mental health. But with nearly 700 people experiencing homelessness in Coconino County today, the shelter is operating at maximum capacity.
“Homelessness in Northern Arizona is a matter of life and death,” said Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans said. “Lives are at stake, especially when the temperatures drop. Thankfully, we haven’t had an exposure death since Flagstaff Shelter Services transitioned from a seasonal to year-round operation in 2014. This expansion will further ensure that all in need have a safe place to sleep and access to the support they need to rise above homelessness.”
In addition to the extra square footage, the impact of the expansion means:
- Emergency shelter for families and vulnerable individuals in our community
- Recovery shelter for individuals with significant health concerns and substance use disorders
- Increased access to onsite physical and behavioral health services, as well as vocational services
FSS has made significant strides in reducing homelessness in the region since it first expanded its services to operate year-round in 2014. Its housing-first approach to homelessness has also proven to be successful, moving hundreds of individuals out of homelessness and into permanent housing since the program began in 2014. The large majority (90 percent) of individuals who moved into housing through this initiative remain stably housed.
“Housing should be a right, not a privilege,” Flagstaff Shelter Services Executive Director Ross Altenbaugh said. “We believe in a future where everyone will rise each day from their own bed in their own home.”
FSS will continue to operate off site during construction thanks to the support of Flagstaff Unified School District and faith-based partners who have stepped up to host those experiencing homelessness this summer.
For more information on the campaign, visit https://flagshelter.org/raisetorise/.