Housing and Homeless

Outreach team hits the streets to tackle chronic homelessness

Keys to Change program is fighting to get people into permanent housing, and there are signs of success

Phoenix, Ariz. (STN) — With the escalating number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the greater Phoenix area, and across the nation, the dedicated individuals on the front lines can sometimes be overlooked.

This spring, the STN team took to the streets alongside the regional outreach team from Keys to Change to gain a firsthand perspective on the efforts to secure shelter and permanent housing for as many people as possible.

“Our broad mission is go to all different areas within Maricopa County and spread awareness of what our organization does,” explained Charles Schmiedeke, Outreach Supervisor at Keys to Change. Schmiedeke emphasized that this endeavor encompasses everything from establishing interpersonal connections with individuals struggling to find shelter to addressing the barriers impeding their access to housing.

“The end goal is to eventually place them into housing,” he stated.

Hit the streets with Keys to Change Outreach Team:

Gregory Faust, Regional Outreach Manager at Keys to Change, highlighted prevention as a key focus area of their multifaceted program.

Homelessness is 100% solvable through prevention efforts,” Faust said. “We’ll never be able to stop the circumstances that cause homelessness. However, what we can do is build a system that works for everyone.”

Faust noted that another component of the Keys to Change outreach program involves streamlining the process so that individuals can transition directly from living on the streets to housing, a strategy that is yielding positive results. 

“This year, we will house roughly 400 clients directly from the street into stable, permanent housing,” he added.

For both Faust and Schmiedeke, being part of a program demonstrating tangible success in transitioning unhoused individuals off the streets is challenging yet fulfilling.

“I take [a] mindset into work every single day, [that] just every relationship that I have, whether it’s professional with my coworkers or it’s with clients, I make sure that they feel like I wanted to feel when I was out there facing homelessness,” Schmiedeke said.

Faust echoed this sentiment, expressing, “Being involved in their journey, witnessing the transformation from where clients were to where they are now, is incredibly inspiring and fulfilling.

For more on the Keys to Change outreach program, click here.

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