The past several months has seen a shift in mission for the Prescott-based Coalition for Compassion and Justice.
The coalition board of directors determined that homelessness among veterans and families, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, had created a need for shelters to protect their health. Consequently, coalition facilities at 531 Madison Ave., just off Miller Valley Road near the post office, have changed policies. The shelter is now open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to accommodate men and women over the age of 18.
“We want homeless people to have a clean and secure place to eat, sleep, shower, and we hope, find some companionship,” said CCJ Executive Director Jessi Hans.
Hans further explained the staff had adjusted their responsibilities to create safe environments within the shelter: “We have created protocols for sanitizing, reorganized for social distancing, and made certain that personal protective equipment is available and used. We also are being certain that clients enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of which are provided by local groups like the Salvation Army and individuals to sign up for our meal train.”
Hans noted that Hillside Church of God, Sacred Heart Church and Prescott Christian Church were among those helping organize and serve the three meals a day.
She also praised community support — contributions of funds, food and clothing.
Hans said, “We are a low-barrier shelter.” No requirements or applications are in place. She did explain the number of people would be limited by recommended standards of social distancing and space available.
The estimated cost for providing the services the coalition is supporting is about $12,500 a week.
CCJ, established 20 years ago, previously focused on a broader range of issues that included domestic abuse, substance addiction and hunger for children and families.
The Lodges Are Open to Clients
The Lodges — constructed by Dorn Homes on 226 S. Rush St. — are now open. Begun two years ago, the carefully designed homes can provide housing for up to six clients each. So far, four clients have moved into the homes and “are moving out of homelessness into a new hope for the future and aspirations,” Hans said.
Residents of The Lodges pay $350 a month. Each apartment within the Lodges has its own entrance and private facilities.
Hans praised Prescott-based Dorn Homes and its leadership for creating partnerships among more than 50 trade groups to create the two houses. The coalition commended those businesses for contributing money, materials, time and labor.
Hans said that for the renters, having a home to live in gave them a chance to find jobs, learn new occupations or take advantages of other opportunities without having to worry about having a roof over their heads.
Because of COVID 19, the coalition-owned thrift store at 1034 Fair St. has been temporarily closed. Management says the store will remain closed until it is safe for staff, clients and the community to return to normal activities.
Those who want additional information can find it online at www.yavapaiccj.org or by calling 928-445-8382.
Photo: Executive Director Jessi Hans (center) of the Coalition for Compassion and Justice tells those staying at the coalition shelter on Madison Avenue of the policies in place for the homeless shelter. (courtesy photo)