Vice Mayor of Phoenix proposes solution to helping homelessness

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Yassamin Ansari, the Vice Mayor of Phoenix, wrote an op-ed piece for The Arizona Republic on what she believes would be the biggest help to alleviate homelessness.

Ansari is calling for a “housing first approach,” wanting to provide emergency housing immediately, then treatment.

A housing first model would offer shelter up front. It would provide a safe place to sleep, a clean bathroom, a shower and air conditioning.

Care workers come by daily to offer help finding a job and offering treatment. For example, Keys to Change (formerly Human Services Campus) provides shelter and services for those experiencing homelessness. Amy Schwabenlender, CEO at Keys to Change, also joined us to discuss it.

“Let’s meet people where they’re at, provide the services that they need and help them take the steps,” said Schwabenlender.

Housing First is an evidence-based best practice supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“It’s not just a temporary solution, the idea is to be in a shelter, to find permanent supportive housing in the aftermath,” said Ansari.

The root causes of homelessness are varied not only in Phoenix but nationally. Housing First aims to address the unique needs of each individual on their journey towards stability and well-being.

Yassamin Ansari, Vice Mayor of Phoenix
Amy Schwabenlender, CEO, Keys to Change

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