In July, 2021, the city of Glendale, AZ, with a general population of about 250,000 residents, announced a new program to “help homeless.” You will find it on the city website in the news section. Sounds like good news, right? It appears that Glendale Community College was given some cash to run a homeless voucher program. The program provides rental assistance to homeless people residing in Glendale. It’s not just for GCC students but the city would prefer that it go to students first. You have to have a referral to get into the program and GCC students have a contact name and number but any other person in Glendale that is currently without a home has to get their referral from the Coordinated Entry Point at CASS (Central Arizona Shelter Service.)
When you go to the City Of Glendale website under Crisis Assistance Service, you get a couple paragraphs about the new resources they have to offer the homeless and then tell you to go to CASS or click a link for a downloadable PDF of other coordinated entry points for homeless resources of which none are in the city of Glendale.
Homeless are not welcome in Glendale
If you are homeless – Leave! is basically what page says. Going to CASS is not easy. There is no free transportation to get there and it’s over 9 miles away. There’s no posting about the reality of CASS, it’s not like you can just roll up anytime of the day and apply for services. You have to arrive 1st thing in the morning and wait in line for their 7:30 am opening. There is no bathroom services available. You have to walk through tent city to get to the door. Tent City is overwhelmed with drug use and offers of sales. You also have to walk through peoples entire belongings and it’s very uncomfortable.
Once inside, you put your name on a list and if they don’t get to you by noon then you have to come back again the next day and try to get in earlier. It’s painful, degrading, dehumanizing, and often leads to nowhere. If you are lucky enough to get an interview and assesment you will be put on a waiting list. Waiting lists could be up to two years. You just have to keep coming back and checking in to see if your name is up to recieve services.
By the time CASS processes you through their system, the funds from the City of Glendale could be long gone. They only put 1.5 million into the program and most of that went to administrative services so that the city itself doesn’t have to deal with homeless people coming in to apply for services. The city doesn’t want you in their downtown area and redirects you to a remote location if possible.
Is it working?
No one knows if the program is working because the reporting isn’t transparent. You would have to go to GCC and read their budget reports or to New Leaf, their other partner in this scheme. Getting results data is like pulling teeth with scissors. I couldn’t find any resources to provide an update on how the program is functioning let alone providing vouchers.
The long and short of it is this. You MUST go through CASS (or Umom if you’re a family with kids) and follow all of their steps, hoops and jumps and you must do it consistently and persistently to get any services. And pay no attention to the 500+ people ahead of you in line, in tents outside of CASS waiting for the same help. And certainly don’t go back to Glendale, they have made it very clear you are not welcome.