For some, deciding between Target and Walmart comes down to convenience. Sharon, an East Valley retiree, based her decision on which parking lot was empty enough so she could park her car and sleep.
At 76 years old, Sharon found herself living on the streets due to unforeseen personal matters. After spending a month flip-flopping between store parking lots, on a 114-degree day in June, she came across a flyer for the Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) I-HELP program. I-HELP is a vital part of our MC2026 five-year plan and is funded in part by Valley of the Sun United Way supporters.
Sharon drove to the I-HELP shelter where, for the first time in a month, she washed her clothes and took a warm shower. She spent the night there and immediately began working with a case manager to create an action plan to get her back into stable housing. It’s now been two years since Sharon moved into her own apartment, where she also receives nutritional meals from TCAA’s Food Pantry.
“I cannot express the gratitude to all the donors who have given generously to help me and so many others,” said Sharon. “You helped get me off the streets and into a home. Thank you for being there for me when others were not.”
TCAA’s I-HELP and Oasis Drop-In Center are two of more than 100 programs that each play a distinct role in achieving our mighty community goal to reduce homelessness in Maricopa County by 50% by 2026. The causes of homelessness are complex and vary by individual. That’s why there is no single solution, and why we work with many strategic partners across the Valley to prevent homelessness, provide emergency shelter and provide stable housing and other resources to keep families and individuals permanently housed.
TCAA programs benefit more than 30,000 East Valley adults and children annually, providing safety, resources and a pathway back to housing permanency for men and women who are unsheltered in Tempe. Its programs share a common purpose: to ensure that homelessness is rare, and ultimately a preventable circumstance. Participants report improved health and well-being, greater financial security and confidence in their realistic plan to overcome homelessness.
I-HELP offers immediate safety and utilizes community assets and volunteers to provide an array of supportive services to prepare men and women for entry into (and retention of) a lasting home, including:
TCAA Oasis Drop-In Center
The Oasis Drop-In Center, which was launched during COVID-19 and serves as a heat-relief station and provides brief refuge from the street, offers extensive services to address barriers to overcoming homelessness, including:
Your support of Valley of the Sun United Way and our MC2026 plan is creating mighty change for Sharon and thousands of others in our community.