PHOENIX — As businesses, such as bars, restaurants, and stores, have had to adapt and navigate throughout the pandemic, so have nonprofit organizations that deliver much-needed aid to those in need.
Even before the pandemic, homelessness in Arizona was — and remains — an issue. Because of the pandemic, it has arguably become more pronounced and has impacted more people.
It is something that Circle The City, a nonprofit organization in Phoenix that provides health and respite medical care to the homeless, has also noticed.
“Homeless is so much more pervasive in our community. It’s our next door neighbor. It’s our aunt or uncle. It’s a family member that has fallen on hard times, lost a job, and that can lead to a loss of housing, and next thing you’re living out of your car, you don’t have health insurance,” said Marty Hames, spokesperson for Circle The City.
“Now, homeless is something we’re talking about that’s affecting us all,” she said.
Like other organizations, Circle The City is open — and has remained open throughout the pandemic, she said.
“We were in the same boat as every healthcare organization in the world, facing the same challenges — trying to get PPE, trying to meet the needs of our patients,” she said.
The nonprofit was founded in 2012 and sought to address a gap in care for those individuals who were not sick enough to be in the hospital, but were too sick to be on the street and had nowhere to go, she said.
They have two medical facilities that provide respite care, 24-hour nursing, behavioral assistance and resources, as well as other services. They have also partnered with doctors across the Valley for outpatient healthcare needs.
Annually, Circle The City typically sees more than 10,000 people utilize its services.
With the pandemic, they partnered with Maricopa County to utilize a hotel, called the Phoenix Inn, where homeless individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and needed a place to recover, could stay.
At its highest peak, more than 100 people were staying at the hotel, she said recently.
Eventually, they hope to begin receiving enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate their patients.
She said Thursday that they received 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, and are working to vaccine their healthcare staff first, and then their homeless patients.
For more information, visit www.circlethecity.org.