February Director’s Report

Well, what a beginning to this year! It’s certainly not how I thought this year would begin but I hope this gets our share of bad luck out of the way! I spent all morning trying to salvage things from the warehouse or other “deal with immediately” issues.

Center Guests

It has been a busy month, we had 17 new people, had a total of 537 overnight and 652 during the day. Of the 17 new faces, only 3 were from the Cottonwood area. I have taken a very firm stance that we cannot house people requiring medical attention as we are not licensed to care for people who have medical needs. However, our criteria are very lenient: you must be nice, not cause trouble, you must be able to feed and toilet yourself, you must be able to get yourself up and down off the cot unaided and any assistive device you have must not block or inhibit travel down any path or walkway.

Fire Update

So, the fire. This has been an experience I never wanted to have but, here we are! We found out today that our washer and dryer can be saved. Two of the small freezers are working though one is iffy. Eventually it will have to go but for now it is keeping frozen food frozen. We saved some paper products, coffee and of course the ramen is safe (through fire, storm, and pestilence I’m sure). Bedding, towels, and washcloths can be saved after laundry. The women’s area was hardly affected so we will be able to salvage some of the jackets and clothing though those are less priority than our bedding. We had a couple volunteers today which was terrific as they did a lot of the heavy moving. They hooked up the washer and thank goodness the sun shines here as we will be using solar for our dryer! Overall, the community has been so very supportive, I have had multiple calls every day asking what people can do to help. I have had so far $1500 in donations specifically for goods we might need that were destroyed. Groups such as Sedona Verde Valley Association of Realtors, Verde Community Church, House of Ruth, Head Start teachers, On the Greens, Cottonwood Commons, Living Water, Clarkdale Jerome School District, JPS, Manzanita, and so many more agencies/ businesses, not to mention individual community members have all inquired as to what they can do to support us. It is overwhelming how much care and concern this tragedy has generated in our neighbors. Our staff has continued to be strong, especially through this whole incident. They’ve got a “get it done” attitude!

Out on the Town

My talk at the Networking for Solutions meeting went well. I was surprised at how many people were not familiar with us. All there represented a portion of people that are marginalized and are desperate for housing. Elderly, unsheltered, felons, victims of DV, single parents with families, family members caring for elderly family members, a whole cross section of forgotten people. I think it was an eye opener for everyone to hear of the difficulties all of us have not only with housing but with acceptance and support as well.

Taxes and Donations

I recorded our spot for the AZ tax credit with the radio last week and it began broadcasting this week. It will air 3 days a week for 5 weeks so a good bit of coverage before tax time. Most nonprofits ask for the tax credit donation this time of year, so I went a little different route. I chose to remind people that we as taxpayers in AZ have the right to choose to make a donation in leu of sending money to the state. While we (VVHC) would love to take that tax credit donation there are many local non-profits that could use the money and why not keep it here in the valley helping our neighbors. I figure if only one married couple is influenced to give us their donation, we will have more than paid for the advertisement and hopefully I will have encouraged more people to keep their money local.


Rhonda Bishop

Executive Director