Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Hope House of Sedona
Interest in the Hope House of Sedona project for the homeless has generated a host of frequently asked questions (FAQs). These questions fall into the following categories:
Impressions and attitudes regarding homelessness in general
The background of Hope House project—its purpose, support and sustainability
Hope House potential residents and operation
As the project goes forward, additional questions will be included, and more categories may emerge.
1. General Impressions/Attitudes of Homelessness
Q: Why do you think there are homeless children in Sedona? I haven’t seen any.
A: The Sedona-Oak Creek School District is required to maintain a count of the homeless children enrolled in the district. Per the District’s coordinator, the count of homeless children fluctuates between 20-30+ at any given time. If anything, these numbers are under reported. Since this is the population we are addressing, these numbers are applicable to what we are trying to do. We have already received requests for assistance and address those as they arise. With a generous offering from The Church of the Red Rocks’ congregation, we were able to help a working mother with two small children escape being homeless by paying her back rent and securing her residence. With this same offering we were able to provide a 3-day motel stay for a mother with four children while they looked for a place to stay. Unfortunately, they had to go to the shelter in Flagstaff. This emphasizes the current need for Hope House in Sedona. If they could have stayed in Sedona long enough for the children to finish the school year, it would have prevented more upheaval for this family already in crisis. Given the Covid pandemic, more families are finding themselves jobless and homeless. With each day that passes, the need for safe shelter and food increases.
Q: Have you seen that homeless shelter in Flagstaff? People are lying around on the ground all day, wasting their lives away, just waiting for a free bed. Not a sight I want my children to witness in Sedona.
A: Actually, a large percentage of “homeless” are people who are at work all day. Since Hope House will be a facility for “working families” (parents and children), you will not likely see people loitering outside. Rules of operation will also help to prevent this kind of activity.
Q: There are services for the homeless in Cottonwood. Why don’t the Sedona homeless go there?
A: Most of us do not give a second thought to driving to Cottonwood, but for the homeless it is often very difficult. Some of them live in their cars which may not be usable or mobile; or they may not have the money for gas, insurance and/or registration. The majority of Sedona homeless families work here and have children who are in Sedona schools. For the homeless, driving to Cottonwood every day may not be feasible. The Cottonwood services provide care during the day; Hope House will provide temporary residential services for homeless families with children.
Q: We already have too many homeless people panhandling in town. If you build a shelter, won’t you just attract more?
A: First, there are many reasons people become homeless, and some choose to beg on the street. We are not proposing a “generic” homeless shelter. Our facility will serve families with children—generally, not the kind of homeless person you might find “panhandling” on Sedona’s streets. These children are in school; most of the parents work in the area. They already live here.
Q: I’m just an average Sedona citizen and I don’t want my tax dollars to go to help the homeless. I’d like my taxes to go to fix traffic problems.
A: Every taxpayer has the legitimate right to question and/or express concern as to how their taxes are spent. Aside from the initial grant through Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the majority of the funding for Hope House operations will come from grants and donations from various community churches, organizations and individuals. Therefore, the City’s effort to fix the traffic problem will not be negatively impacted.
Our potential residents are parents who typically work—here in Sedona. Their wages simply cannot secure sufficient housing for them in Sedona. In the long run, providing shelter for this homeless population may actually save tax dollars. 1) When families are in a more stable condition (finding temporary housing at Hope House), they are less likely to need Sedona’s emergency services such as ER, hospitalization, police and fire department assistance. And 2) The emphasis of Hope House is “temporary” housing—helping families whose goals are to become “homed” not homeless. Support and assistance from Hope House will be a “hand up” to these families—not a “hand out”. While living in Hope House, our families will be working on transition plans with our volunteer counselors and also with other organizations, such as Catholic Charities.
Hope House will have a strict policy prohibiting the possession of drugs and/or alcohol. Also, individuals must be sober in order to stay in the facility. Families will be vetted through the homeless liaison with the Sedona-Oak Creek School District and have to sign up to stay there. No loitering will be allowed outside the facility.
2. Background of Hope House project—its purpose, support and sustainability.
Q: Is Hope House a part of The Church of the Red Rocks (CRR)?
A: The concept for Hope House was initiated as a mission outreach of CRR. However, the project has now extended to a community effort—working with a consortium of faith groups, businesses and other organizations willing to collaborate with us. We see the need for this project to be “owned” by the entire Sedona/Verde Valley community. Hope House has been incorporated as a non-profit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Hope House is a separate entity from CRR.
Q: What is the purpose of building a homeless shelter in Sedona?
A: Hope House will not be what one generally thinks of as a “homeless shelter,” but rather transitional housing and meals for children and their families.
Our Vision Statement is: A temporary home for Sedona’s most vulnerable children.
Our Mission Statement is: Providing hope for Sedona’s homeless families
Q: What are your objectives?
A: Hope House Objectives are:
– Provide temporary housing for homeless children and their parents (guardians) who are living in Sedona.
– Develop transition plan programs with homeless guests so they achieve successful outcomes.
As these objectives are achieved, it is the expectation that families will have a plan to move forward to transition into adequate affordable housing, and have their lives and futures changed in a positive way.
Q: Where will this house be built?
A: The property is near Hwy 89A, close to shopping and transportation, making it ideal for our use.
Q: What will the house look like?
A: A site-built home with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths will be constructed on the property. It will adhere to all City of Sedona codes and requirements and will fit nicely into the neighborhood.
Q: How soon will the Hope House be built?
A: We expect construction to begin in early 2021 and hope to be finished by the end of the year.
Q: In order to sustain an ambitious project like this you are going to need lots of money! Where will the financial support come from?
A: Yes, it will take lots of money to sustain the operation of residential, temporary housing for homeless families in Sedona! To adequately fund the operation of Hope House, we will need the support and generosity of the entire Sedona community—congregations, organizations, and individuals. With our non-profit 501(c)(3) status, we will be able to broaden recruitment of funds throughout the business community in Sedona/Verde Valley. Eventually, we hope to meet the criteria for individual Arizona taxpayers to contribute through the Arizona Tax Credit program. Fundraising efforts will be on-going.
C: Potential Residents and Projected Operation
Q: Who are Hope House’s potential residents?
A: Potential residents – in priority order according to vulnerability:
– Children (infant through middle school age) with parent(s) or guardian(s)
– Youth (high school with parent(s) or guardian(s)
Q: Will you be doing background checks on people staying at Hope House?
A: Yes. Homeless families will go through an eligibility process in order to live at Hope House. They will be first vetted by the homeless liaison in the Sedona-Oak Creek School District. They will be working a transition plan with the help of our volunteer counselors along with Catholic Charities' case workers when necessary. The residents will be required to enter clean and sober and stay and clean sober to receive our services. The on-site house manager will be monitoring the families and their living quarters. There will be a “no firearms and weapons allowed” policy in force.
Q: How long can people stay at Hope House?
A: That will be determined on a case-by-case basis. At this point we have not set a maximum stay. The minimum could potentially be one night.
Q: Will you provide other services besides shelter?
A: In addition to providing three meals a day, we plan to refer our residents to available federal and local services for assistance. They will be working on a transition plan with a case worker. We can’t over emphasize the goal of the housing of any family is expected to be “temporary.” Every effort will be made to eventually see each family in some kind of affordable housing.
Q: What will you do about food for your residents?
A: Manzanita Outreach and Sedona Food Bank have generously offered to supply food. When we are in full operation, we expect there will be other groups that will be contributing. All food will be provided free of charge to the residents. Three meals a day will be available.
Q: Will you be using Volunteers to help operate and support Hope House?
A: Yes. Volunteers from church congregations and the community as a whole are being actively recruited. We encourage any person wishing to work with us to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artwork by Sedona Red Rock Junior High 7th and 8th graders