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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news January 25, 2015

8/25/2014 6:01:00 AM
Homeless Summit focuses on jobs, housing, education
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Credit counselor David Smith speaks on “Rebuilding Credit for a Brighter Future” during the Homeless Summit put on by VA System at the Heights Church in Prescott Thursday morning.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Credit counselor David Smith speaks on “Rebuilding Credit for a Brighter Future” during the Homeless Summit put on by VA System at the Heights Church in Prescott Thursday morning.

Patrick Whitehurst
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Is it possible to go from homeless to homeowner in Yavapai County?

Organizers for the Annual Homeless Summit certainly believe it is.

On Thursday, representatives with the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System presented the Fourth Annual Homeless Summit 2014 at the Heights Church in Prescott. Catholic Charities community services, the Coalition for Compassion and Justice and Prescott Area Shelter Services partnered with the Prescott VA to offer the summit, which focused on the transition from homeless to homeowner. Approximately 75 turned out for the meeting at Heights Church in Prescott.

Thursday's topics included discussions on rebuilding credit, information on earning higher wages when it comes to employment opportunities, dealing with criminal records, and affordable housing both in Coconino and Yavapai Counties. The summit was designed for staff and individuals who work with the homeless on a regular basis.

Edward Shier, homeless program manager for the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System, encapsulated Thursday's meeting.

"We're looking at how you move someone from being homeless, such as someone in a homeless shelter, and getting them to the point where they can actually purchase a home. We're looking at employment opportunities, education, how to clear up your legal history, your credit report and how to address transportation issues as well," Shier said.

A number of representatives were also on hand for the event, including reps from Congressman Paul Gosar, Ann Kirkpatrick's office and Senator John McCain's office. Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman was also present for Thursday's summit.

"Usually the goal is we pick a project or two to really focus and work on," Shier said. "Yavapai County is continuing to bring in affordable housing. One mechanism would be the Public Housing Authority. Yavapai County still relies on the state of Arizona Department of Housing to administer the Public Housing Authority, so there's a group of people here who are working to bring a local, county-run housing authority."

Carol Quasula, programs director for Catholic Charities, called the 2014 summit the best one yet when it came to understanding the need for both political and community support.

"What's being presented up here is real. This is what we're experiencing in our communities and these are real solutions. It's going to take more than just us. We're part of the tribe, we work together, because we know what the issues are, but it's our elected and appointed officials that have to get on board and help us. That's the only way we're going to get it done," Quasula said.

Darla DeVille, executive director for United Way of Yavapai County, said that anything is possible when people come together for a common goal.

"The idea of moving people from a homeless situation to a home full situation is really key. 'Full' means, once those individuals are able to secure a home that's safe, secure and permanent, then they can really begin to build a foundation to fulfill their life," DeVille said. "It's really wonderful that the VA, and Ed Shier, and a lot of different collaborative organizations are here to address this very serious issue here in Yavapai County."

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Article comment by: jacinta awareness

The amount of ignorance towards the homeless population is unreal there is a stereo type that all homeless are lazy,drug addicts,want to be homeless,or are alcholics come on people there are so many families liveing on the streets families who were always just a pay check away from being homeless then that day came when the husband or wife lost there job ,they had no saveings because it was there money to live and now end up homeless with no where to go is that there fault no should they be judged no it can happen to anyone . There is no discrimination of homelessness black,yellow,white,child,adult ,family

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Please

The unfortunate truth is that this effort should probably focus first on reducing substance abuse.

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014
Article comment by: No ambulance type calls for the Fire Dept.

A suggestion for homeless folks getting back to work instead of drifting from shelter to shelter as they do now.

The policy of homeless shelters should have a three-six months stay and be ready to support yourself after that period.

As it stands now with the shelters, if the homeless person uses up the time limit on one shelter, they just move on to the next shelter.

Stop giving these people a fish...teach them how to fish and move them on.

Perhaps bringing back mental institutions would be the answer to the homeless...a good number of them will never attriculate into society.

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