Today we are launching the second chapter of our documentary series on homelessness in Arizona “Unwelcome”, titled “Chapter 2: Housing First”.
In this chapter direct service providers and activists discuss government claims of eradication of veteran homelessness in Arizona through the Housing First strategy which, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, focuses on providing homeless individuals with rapid housing solutions and subsequently providing recovery and rehabilitation services.
In late 2013, Phoenix, Arizona made headlines in the U.S. due to Mayor Greg Stanton’s claim of ending chronic homelessness amongst the veteran population of the city. Considering that in their 2013 Homelessness in Arizona Report the Department of Economic Security (DES) stated that veterans experiencing chronic homelessness, defined as experiencing homelessness more than four times in a three year period or through one consecutive year in addition to having a disability, have lived on the streets for an average of 7.86 years, this was dubbed a resounding success to be replicated not only across the rest of the Arizonan homeless populations but through the rest of the country.
However, this statement, backed by the White House and advertised on publications such as the New York Times, conflicts with testimonies of direct service providers as well as reporting from governmental agencies such as DES, which through their 2014 Homelessness in Arizona Report outlines that there were 858 homeless veterans counted during the 2014 Point in Time Survey, a method of determining the amount of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals during one single night and that uses mathematical calculations such as extrapolation to determine the numbers reported. A breakdown of the Point in Time Survey can be found in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2014 publication (https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/reportmanagement/published/CoC_PopSub_State_AZ_2014.pdf)
Directus International is concerned with the intentional misinformation surrounding veteran homelessness in Arizona as this not only represents an immoral action on the part of governmental agencies and Mayor Greg Stanton but it also furthers the oppression of homeless populations by seemingly erasing their vicissitudes in the eyes of the public, who are already systematically taught to fear and overlook them.
Chapter 2 expands on the discussion initiated with “Chapter 1: The City” (https://youtu.be/1xSJR9UdQ4w), and this will continue with further installments of the series focusing on different aspects of homelessness in Arizona to be uploaded in the following weeks. Please send us your opinions and comments as we look forward to hearing from you.