West Valley city wins innovation award for program that helps people experiencing homelessness

Sep 11, 2023, 4:15 AM

Glendale Homeless Solutions Alliance award from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopme...

(Andre Penner Photo/via Associated Press)

(Andre Penner Photo/via Associated Press)

PHOENIX — The city of Glendale won a national award last week for its unique approach to homelessness.

Each year, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials analyzes housing programs across the country.

This year, Glendale won the Arizona chapter’s “Innovative Program of the Year” award, a Friday announcement said.

The innovation being celebrated is made possible through the Glendale Homeless Solutions Alliance.

Funding for that alliance comes from a written agreement the city has with Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS).

The national reward recognized the city’s Master Services Agreement, according to city officials.

What is the Glendale Homeless Solutions Alliance?

Glendale started this program after experiencing a spike in homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 2019 to 2023, unsheltered homeless shot up by 25% in the West Valley, according to CASS.

That’s why Glendale partnered with CASS to launch Glendale Homeless Solutions Alliance in July 2021.

This program provides resources for people experiencing homelessness in the city. On top of that, it also helps people on the brink of losing stable housing. To do this, it works in concert with these seven agencies:

  • Central Arizona Shelter Services
  • Phoenix Rescue Mission
  • Community Bridges, Inc.
  • Circle The City
  • Family Promise
  • Homeless Youth Connection
  • Maggie’s Place

The cross-agency response allows the GHA to center clients in a way that matches the best practices, according to CASS. Not only that, but the GHA model is also trauma-informed.

Additionally, CASS said it is designed to respect different populations, including veterans, seniors and families.

“Between July 2021 and May 2023, more than 4,600 people have received services through the GHA,” CASS said on its website.

How does the housing program work?

The Glendale Homeless Solutions Alliance uses a “no wrong door approach,” Glendale’s announcement said.

That means a person can access housing services through any of the seven partner agencies. Once they walk through one of those organization’s doors, they will be able to access a vast support network.

The alliance’s headquarters, so to speak, are at the Norton and Ramsey Social Justice Empowerment Center.

“An average of 500 Glendale residents benefit monthly from the GHA through the navigation center that CASS operates,” Glendale said.

The center at 7031 N. 56th Avenue is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, the city said. Those who want to contact the center for help can call 623-207-8902.

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West Valley city wins innovation award for program that helps people experiencing homelessness