With temperatures regularly dipping into the single-digits at night, winters here are deadly for those who do not have shelter. Deaths from exposure are completely preventable – all it takes is a safe place to sleep. That is why Flagstaff Shelter Services provides emergency shelter 365 days a year to anyone experiencing homelessness or otherwise in crisis.
We are the first and last line of defense for Flagstaff residents who are most likely to die on the streets tonight. Anyone in crisis can spend the night, get a hot shower and food, use our computers to access job services, do their laundry and store their belongings.
But our services include much more than an emergency shelter. Our mission is to help people in crisis to move out of homelessness permanently.
There are a number of reasons why someone might be experiencing homelessness. Regardless of any of these, we believe housing is a human right. Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep, without exception.
The reality is that poverty in Flagstaff far surpasses the national average. The high cost of living in Flagstaff, combined with high unemployment and lack of affordable housing, among other factors, makes it tough for many families to get by.
When you are living paycheck to paycheck, an extended illness, unexpected bill or pink slip could quickly turn life upside down. And once you lose your home, finding your way back to a stable living situation is harder than you think.
People experiencing homelessness in Flagstaff face staggering challenges that keep housing far out of reach. Bad credit, unemployment, criminal records, lack of transportation, mental health, and substance abuse issues are pretty substantial obstacles that stand in the way of anyone trying to turn their life around.
Studies have shown that the fastest, most cost-effective way to stop the cycle of homelessness is to provide housing first. That’s why, since 2015, Flagstaff Shelter Services has assigned case managers to help our clients quickly transition out of our emergency shelter and into permanent housing.
Housing First means gives someone in crisis an opportunity to find stability. Once a client is housed, we coordinate with our community partners to provide the specific resources needed to keep the client stably housed.
And it works.
“More than 86% of those we have rehoused do not return to homelessness.”
Everyone faces challenges in life. Some of us have a wider network of people we could lean on if things ever went south.
Flagstaff Shelter Services exists for those who don’t have anywhere else to go.