I spent two and a half hours tonight at a meeting at the Sedona Public Library.
The meeting was sponsored by SAHA the Sedona Area Homeless Alliance, a group of individuals dedicated to helping the Homeless lift themselves up and find value in their life.
SAHA has a very different view of helping this community, instead of the typical structured approach of establishing a shelter that uses a rigid structure of a 12 step based program and a system of no trust and setting up the participants to fail in the long term, SAHA is focused on a shelter for all who need it when temperatures are 45 or below at night.
The problem with providing shelter year round is that for much of the year in Arizona the temperature is warm enough that many can survive by sleeping out, and many of the homeless in Sedona do not want a shelter year round.
The issues that SAHA is working toward is having a Day center where people can come for 3 meals a day, a place to shower, get clean clothes, have an address so they can find work, get a hair cut and have access to bathrooms and
computers to find work. This is a short list of the things that are primary.
A point brought up in the meeting is that there are many in the homeless communities that are families, who struggle to survive. Many try to stay below the radar because there is fear that if you have children and are homeless, that your children will be taken from you. In Sedona this is not the case.
Families are homeless because they came here, and issues occured where they may have lost jobs, gone through their money and found themselves with no place to go. So they do what they can to survive. When they find a place to camp they may be several miles from the main city, with no means of transit in many cases they have to walk to where they work.
These people need a place to stay to get themselves clean so they can work.
The homeless are not the stereotype we think of, they are more. They are our brothers and sisters, some may be our fathers or mothers.
They are not disposable people, they are those who are struggling to start over and find a purpose and a sense of value.
Something to be considered.
A purpose and to be of value