Homeless outreach touches 60 lives

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

Photo by Darrell Jackson
Local support groups inside Rio Vista Community Center help homeless individuals during the recent homeless outreach.

Photo courtesy Denette Dunn
Local police go to sites where homeless individuals stay to take them to the homeless outreach event at Rio Vista Community Center.

Peoria, along with numerous West Valley cities, partnered June 20 to conduct a homeless outreach event at Rio Vista Recreation Center at Rio Vista Community Park.
This year’s event revealed homelessness continues to be a growing issue and the approximately 60 homeless individuals who gathered at Rio Vista went to get as much assistance as the city could get together in one location.
“Some may think they are helping by handing out money or food,” Peoria Police Department Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator Lisa Scott said. “I have seen the food, clothes, blankets and water given out by well-meaning people to panhandlers and the homeless stockpiled in temporary outdoor shelters and traded for drugs, alcohol and other items.”
Homeless individuals who were at Rio Vista were helped with medical care, haircuts, veterans’ assistance, animal care, community resources, housing and other help they may need.
One of the homeless who was listening to information about veterans and asked that we only use his first name said he was glad to get the assistance being offered.
“Look, I fought for this country and it has come to this for me,” Andre said. “I gave everything to defend this country and I can’t even get a job so I can help myself. This is an amazing thing the city of Peoria is doing and I really appreciate it.”
After talking to the person at the veterans’ assistance table, Andre walked over to get information from behavioral health and shelter providers.
“I appreciate that the city of Peoria is trying, but more needs to be done,” Andre said. “I have been trying to get off the streets and this is very helpful, but this is like once a year and it is hard to get the help the people on the street need. Hopefully, this can help me start to turn my life around and I can get off the streets.”
Pine District candidate for City Council Denette Dunn, who traveled with officers in contacting known homeless individuals to take to the outreach program, was quick to address the hard work by everyone.
“Peoria police officers work hard and partner with other cities and agencies to provide a new start for those in need. The help through these agencies is far more effective than a temporary handout and it will help empower those in need and get them back on their feet and into programs, jobs and affordable housing,” Dunn said. “I highly commended officers for doing so many different jobs, including to protect and serve, become social worker, coach and mentors to their community. These officers took the time to talk with the people to learn about their lives.
“There were a variety of resources to include, shelter providers, animal care and boarding, medical screenings, substance abuse assistance, behavioral health assistance, veteran benefits, food, and other resource information at the event held at Rio Vista.”

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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

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