The City of Scottsdale and Phoenix Rescue Mission have announced the launch of Scottsdale Works, an integrated workforce development program that aims to reduce homelessness in Scottsdale and put the city’s homeless to work.
The public-private collaboration comes at a critical time when COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect those who are already experiencing difficult times.
Funded in part by the City of Scottsdale, the program is designed to locate homeless individuals, pick them up from a set location and give them the opportunity to earn real wages and connect with services, according to a press release.
The Scottsdale Works participants will work with Phoenix Rescue Mission and the City of Scottsdale Human Services Department’s Brick by Brick social enterprise program to produce an adobe-like earthen brick called compressed earth block.
The CEB’s will be utilized by the city for capital projects and, in coordination with other regional partners, to build energy efficient CEB tiny homes with and for people experiencing homelessness.
“We believe that one of the first steps in assisting folks who find themselves experiencing homelessness is to meet them where they are. This is meant in both a literal and figurative manner,” Scottsdale Human Services Director Greg Bestgen said. “We believe that the Scottsdale Works Brick by Brick program not only provides honest dignified daily work, but also the chance to be part of a solution to the lack of affordable, attainable housing throughout the Valley. Individuals in this program are making an energy-efficient building block that we hope will help to house the very people who are producing it.”
Phoenix Rescue Mission will contract with the City of Scottsdale for the service projects and will be responsible for engaging potential participants to perform the work, which includes five-hour work shifts for a daily cash rate of $60.
After their shift, program participants will receive a meal and transportation.
Subsequently, participants who are interested in changing their life situation can connect with a Phoenix Rescue Mission case manager who will work with them to receive behavior health services, job preparedness training, healthcare, housing opportunities and other potential resources.
“We’ve spent several years refining our Will Work program, which is the foundation of Scottsdale Works and can be scaled for any city, no matter the city’s size or situation. Since we first launched it in Glendale, we’ve touched the lives of many individuals by taking them off the streets, not only offering them real work, but also the resources to end their life on the streets. As a result, we have also seen a higher quality of life for the residents, business owners and entire Glendale community. In fact, earlier this year, when the county announced its 2020 homeless Point-In-Time count, Glendale was one of only a few cities of more than 25 in the Valley to have seen a decrease in homelessness – and Glendale saw the sharpest decrease. With the help of this initiative, we hope to see similar results in Scottsdale in the coming months.”
-- Nathan Smith, Phoenix Rescue Mission Chief Program Officer
“Our goal is to provide opportunities for homeless individuals to make an intentional decision to end their cycle of homelessness,” City of Scottsdale Homeless Outreach Coordinator Mike Lopach said. “This will also include connecting the participants with resources that can assist and support them with permanent, stable housing.”
Phoenix Rescue Mission is also partnering with the cities of Peoria, Goodyear, Avondale and Glendale on similar public-private programs that address food insecurity, homeless outreach, crime and other social issues.
For more information, please visit www.PhoenixRescueMission.org.