Need Help locating an emergency homeless, or domestic violence shelter in Maricopa County?
Call the CONTACS Shelter Hotline at (602) 263-8900 or 1-800-799-7739
Like many receiving help from Urban Outreach, I have struggled to overcome homelessness and its challenges. During the 1990s, I became addicted to drugs, including methamphetamine, and involved in drug selling. This addiction led to many negative consequences, including homelessness and time in prison. My life was filled with little hope as I had no place or no one to call “home.” I went from campout to hideout to soup kitchen to find shelter and food to survive.
On December 11, 2007, I made the choice to change. I was ready to find “home,” a place to belong and thrive with people who I cared for. I am approaching 5 years of a sobriety – a fact to celebrate. Knowing recovery was more than I could do myself, I sought support from the I-Help Program. I worked there for a year as a monitor before finding “home” at Urban Outreach.
I began working for Urban Outreach in 2009 as a paid kitchen support staff. Since then I have been promoted to Program Supervisor and have helped organize, implement, and supervise Urban Outreach’s morning shower program and evening dinner program. Through this work opportunity and another part-time job, I am able to consider myself to be self-sufficient. I am able to provide and maintain food and shelter for myself while establishing a place in the community and associations that bring a sense of belonging.
I consider my position at Urban Outreach a privilege. I am proud to support others in establishing a place to call “home”. It is fulfilling to see others make the choice to change and direct their life in positive ways and to know that I have been a part of that. I look forward to continued opportunities to serve and support Urban Outreach and the guests that attend our programs to overcome their homelessness and find “home.”
Gabriel, a Veteran of the U.S. Army, has become a notable success story for Urban Outreach. His journey began by spending eight years homeless, part of that spent living in the protected nooks of Papago Park. Homeless as a result of an alcohol addiction, Gabriel reached out to Urban Outreach for assistance.
Gabriel applied to become a participant of the Urban Outreach Home at Last Program. Through a partnership between Urban Outreach, the City of Tempe, and Valley of the Sun United Way, Gabriel was placed into permanent housing and provided with Case Management services. With the support of this partnership, Gabriel courageously started over.
Through the guidance of Urban Outreach Case Management. Gabriel was able to build off his passion for cooking by enrolling in St. Mary's Food Bank Community Kitchen. The 16 week Culinary Program taught him the techniques and skills needed to become a prep cook. Since embarking on this new journey, Gabriel has continued to thrive. He maintains a healthy relationship with his children and grandchildren. He also was awarded a Section 8 voucher and now contributes 30% of his income to rent. Additionally, he was able to take his knowledge from Community Kitchen and obtain a job working in a cafeteria for a local school district.
Urban Outreach's Case Management team continues to work with Gabriel to maintain his housing and employment, budget/save money for a vehicle, and look towards the future.
Tempe First United Methodist Church, 215 E. University Drive, Tempe, Arizona, 85281, 480-967-3376