Q: Does everyone check-in at the same time?
A: Mostly yes. The side gate opens every day at 4:30pm for people to start lining up. Check-in begins at 5pm (clients are allowed into the shelter at any point throughout the night and early morning). There are some instances where a client is placed on a late-night check-in. This is a consequence for people who have proven themselves to be disruptive or dangerous when around large groups of people. So, with the oversight of our Director of Operations, that person will be put on either a 10 o’clock or a midnight check-in. When it’s cold outside those folx are given a blanket/jacket/food, whatever they need to be safe outdoors and are allowed to wait in the yard, separate from other clients until lights-out (at 10pm) or when everyone else is mostly asleep (at midnight). This minimizes the potential for them to get in trouble with other people, which in turn reduces potential police calls.
These folx can get off of a late-night check-in by simply choosing to have a conversation with our staff point-person to talk through workable solutions for them in situations that have caused them issues in the past. After this conversation, these clients are put right back onto the 5pm check-in with everyone else.
Q: Do you turn people away?
A: At FSS it is our core mission to provide emergency shelter to everyone, regardless of faith, sobriety, ethnicity, or mental health. In order to do this we need to ensure the safety and well-being of anyone who comes to us for shelter. If we do end up having to turn someone away from staying with us, it is because they have been violent against other clients or FSS staff members. When this happens, we have to ask them to leave (the police are generally involved). The consequence for violent behavior, or the real threat of violence, is that person can’t return to stay at our group shelter until they have a conversation with our staff point-person to talk through the incident. This is our policy – as long as the person takes responsibility for their actions they are welcomed right back into the shelter (be that a week later or a matter of hours – they can choose when they talk to our staff between 9am and 2pm Monday-Friday). *Exceptions are always made if/when it is unsafe for someone to sleep outside (such as inclement weather or sub-freezing temps).
Sadly there are a few people in this community who have repeatedly committed extreme violence at our shelter, and we as staff and leadership cannot realistically preserve the safety of the group if those folx stay with us. For those individuals, we have made sure that other shelter/housing options are available to them, but they are not allowed to stay at our group shelter anymore.
Q: When can people access the donation closet for clothing and toiletries?
A: The donation closet is open between 9am and 2pm, Monday thru Friday, and then on the weekends throughout the day, depending on the needs of clients, and our staff’s capacity at the moment. During this timeframe and with assistance from our staff, clients are able to access all the available clothing and supply donations (shirts, shoes, pants, jackets, socks, hats, backpacks etc.) as well as our stock of toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, etc.) For our clients in hotels, our shelter staff and housing case managers work hard to connect those folx with clothing and supplies that they need by transporting clothing and toiletries from the donation closet at the Huntington location, to the hotels all across town.
Q: What is the best way for me to get more detailed answers to these and any other questions?
A: Contact us! Come for a (safe) visit! Ask us questions about our policies, procedures, or specific incidents. We would love to talk through any questions or concerns, and/or have you out for a tour. Emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to get ahold of us. Education and a community that is informed about the services and resources available for all our neighbors is the surest way towards a healthy and thriving Flagstaff. So let’s keep the conversation going!
Q: What is the daily schedule at the shelter?
A: See the schedule to the right for a typical day in the life at Flagstaff
Shelter Services’ Huntington Dr. location.