Verde Valley Homeless Coalition Breaks Ground for Transitional Housing

By Alyssa Smith

The Verde Valley Homeless Coalition broke ground for their new tran­sitional housing develop­ment site on Nov. 22.

This new structure, named the Friendship House, will be located off Main Street in Cottonwood and will consist of six individual bedrooms sharing a communal kitchen and living area.

“We were expecting the groundbreaking a lot sooner,” said Rhonda Bishop, executive director of the VVHC. Construction is expected to be completed by May.

The project stresses the importance of having one’s own space in order to properly transition to permanent housing within society.

“You can’t start on making those changes until you have a safe place to live where you can go in, close your door and be at peace,” said Laura Cox, one of the VVHC’s directors.

The coalition currently has a building with four transitional housing units, an emergency overnight shelter that can house 20 people and a day center.

The state of Arizona recognized that Cottonwood has an underserved population, so VVHC received federal funding for the initial cost of the project, but due to the rising cost of supplies, they are now facing a shortage of funds.

The coalition is currently running a campaign with a goal of $33,000 to finish the Friendship House.

Groundbreaking of Friendship House

4 Verde Valley Homeless Coalition Board President Carol Quasula, left, speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new transitional housing unit on Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Cottonwood. The Friendship House will have six individual bedrooms with a shared kitchen and living space. Construction is expected to be completed by May of 2023.
Daulton Venglar/Larson Newspapers

“When people make a donation to an organiza­tion, they really want to know where it’s going to go, so we’ve listed the things that we’re going to buy with the donations that we receive through the whole campaign,” said Cox.

Who will be selected to live in these units will most likely be determined by whether the person has some source of income, whether through employment, disability or social security.

VVHC is also determining whether there will be a lease or a program fee to stay there. “We’ll want them to contribute because that’s realistic. If you’re moving to permanent housing, you have to start learning to pay,” said Carol Quasula, president of the board of directors.

“I am overwhelmed at the community that came out,” said Quasula of the groundbreaking ceremony. Attendees included representatives from Camp Verde and other parts of the valley, showing the community’s efforts to collectively address the current housing crisis.

This article was originally published in

Director’s Report December 2022

At the Center

Another busy month, 19 new people.  It is odd to me that our overnight shelter has been incredibly erratic this winter so far.  We might only have 10 signed up in the night or maybe 20 and then 2 or 3 don’t arrive.  It’s never been this unpredictable in winters past, I guess the same is true of the day center lately as well, it’s just odd enough to see.    We had a couple small victories this month.  I was able to help one of our seniors get placed with US Vets.   He is very happy to be going to Prescott and even though he will have a roommate in his new situation, it will not be 3 roommates in the same room. We have also had some success in getting another senior vet to stay at the shelter most nights.  He is currently being tested for dementia which if he does have it, they will get him into a memory care place if not they are trying another placement. Sometimes the “need to be free” prevents an individual from being placed in permanent housing.

The tractor is continuing to work next door clearing the dirt away.  Unfortunately, we had to call PD this week because we had another person think they could set up camp in the empty lot.  It appears to be a stranger according to the shelter users’ reports, I have never contacted the individual.  I just hope they will not leave a mess that we will have to clean up.  The burned shed has been completely cleared out of the items..We have a few items that we are removing for the shelter, mostly those boxes of socks and shelter records.


Thanks to Ryan Bigelow for sending me a link to a training demonstration from a program called The Nonprofit’s Guide to Homelessness.  I found it incredibly helpful, and though I only touched on a few of the available trainings.  I think it is something that will be beneficial to everyone that works with the homeless.  It covers everything that comes up in our shelter, issues we have had and how to handle them better, even some things that I didn’t realize, nor did I ever think about.  Anyway, after the first of the year, I would like to provide my staff with this training.

Holidays at the Center

Everyone took a turn working at the center on Thanksgiving.  We had a woman volunteer to bring us a turkey and homemade cranberry relish, my family donated a ham, and I found a small one in our freezer here, another family donated pies and rolls.  Someone else made a green bean casserole and I made the rest of the sides. We had our “holiday volunteer” from SNAP fitness come in and help set up tables and get everything ready, so we had several volunteers throughout the day. I appreciated that they all recognized that without us, our clients wouldn’t have a holiday.   We will probably do something similar for Christmas. I know of another individual who has already agreed to work on Christmas eve which is very kind.

Rhonda Bishop
Executive Director

November 2022 Director’s Report

Center Guests

Another busy month has passed!

As I said, we have been quite busy.  Another 19 new people as of Thursday.  Some are transient, unfortunately a number are local that no longer have a place to live.  We have seen several people that were living at Angie’s place and were asked to leave for various reasons creating a whole new group of homeless: former Angie clients.

The Center has a new part-time staff member. He’s someone who wants to supplement his income and he will be staffing two overnight shifts. He should be a great fit as his resume includes jobs working with teens and young adults, developmentally delayed persons, people exiting the criminal justice system, outreach related to his ministries, and much more.


Bombas sent an email! They are sending me another order of socks!  I have to say, our community is so supportive when it comes to providing socks and the bonus of Bomba’s, well we are just sock rich here at the shelter!

Out on the Town

I was recently asked to participate in a panel discussion regarding homelessness in Arizona.  It is a study being conducted jointly by ASU, NAU, and U of A.  It was a small group though a very good discussion.  I don’t know what these studies will do but at least they are getting the feedback from people directly serving the population.

I will be attending the Fall Festival at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds this year.  Saturday the 29th if you want to come out.  We are doing a little craft for the kids and handing out tiny rubber ducks as a prize. We have partnered with NACOG early Head Start who will be helping with the craft and is also providing a treat.  An odd partnership I know but they know little kids and want to recruit them to their program, they didn’t know about the festival, I knew about the festival, and I have the table and the craft, thus a partnership was born.  Should be a fun time.


We had the wonderful volunteers from Verde Community Church come last weekend to help clean out that shed and rid us of all the clothing that has cluttered and clogged the entire space.  We have room now for the blankets and other supplies necessary for daily operation.  What a huge relief this is.  I also got to spend a good amount of time with the volunteers, talking about our facility and helping them with resources they might give to people.  There was some interest in coming to the center to volunteer so that was good and overall, not a bad group to spend a Saturday morning with.

Grants and more

A little update on grants.  The City of Cottonwood has given us the funding to get new fence covers.  If you have been by the center lately, you will have seen how ripped and torn they have become.  I have found a company which produces a similar product though each section is measured and fitted to that section (no scissors involved) it is also reinforced with PVC so it will be longer lasting. I believe there will also be enough in the amount we asked for to also buy a section for the new fence that will have to be installed once the front building comes down. We worked on a grant for new flooring (paint) for the center.  They sent an email and asked if I could answer several questions which I did, they then told me it will be going to the grant committee which means we made it past the initial review so that one looks good too.  I heard from Bank of America yesterday and they have approved our grant for $3,500.  We are still waiting on EFSP, but I guess the very good news is that I just received word that our application was approved by DES, and we will now be providing Homeless Youth Outreach and Drop-In Center Services.  Our BAFO of $113,490 was accepted, despite it being higher than the original amount requested.  I have been working with our insurance company to make sure that all the required documentation is up to date as to DES requirements and will have it in by next week as per their request.

Rhonda Bishop
Executive Director



“Great Things” Fundraiser October 8, 2022

Verde Valley Homeless Coalition “Great Things” Fundraiser October 8, 2022

The Cottonwood Community Clubhouse was packed with more than 150 supporters of the Verde Valley Homeless Coalition who enjoyed a fine Mexican meal by Rose’s Mobile Catering Service, wines from local vineyards, music by DJ Daniel Maldonado and the world premiere of a video about the Coalition created by Mingus Mountain High School students.

Homeless Coalition Fundraiser

The evenings’ host, Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elenski introduced VVHC Board President Carol Quasula who gave a heartfelt speech about the importance of volunteers, partners, and donors to the success of the organization.

 Tim and Carol

The live auction was lively indeed and attracted multiple bidding wars! As advertised, the Silent Auction was filled with unique items from local business and beyond. There wasn’t a basket left at the end of the evening. The Coalition is grateful to all the local merchants, farmers, vineyards, recreational businesses and more who donated their very special products.

Thanks again to everyone who made the evening a huge success.