Weekly Newsletter | June 19, 2024

Human Services Campus is changing our name to Keys to Change. Learn more...

Keeping it Real about Race and Homelessness

Juneteenth National Independence Day marks a day of celebration and reflection. Juneteenth elevates the meaning of freedom for the entire country. This is a time for Black communities to celebrate what makes their communities unique, placing Black voices in the center of conversations about equity and freedom. 

Yet, Juneteenth is not the end of the conversation on inequality in the United States. The fact that it’s a National Holiday is progress, but to be frank, it rings hollow if we don’t continue to do the work. For evidence, look to the unhoused population right here in Maricopa County.

At this time, 8% of the total population in Maricopa County identifies as Black or African American. Yet, Black individuals make up an astounding 37% of the unhoused population.

On a recent episode of It Happens at STN, regional experts sat down to take this topic head-on, including Keys to Change CEO Amy Schwabenlender and Director of Programs Richard Crews.

“If we’re going to have this conversation, we have to explicitly call out that these are people of color. If we can’t call that out, we can’t actually solve the problem,” says Crews.

Patterns of redlining, mortgage discrimination, and bias in law enforcement and healthcare have created generational inequity in the United States, and particularly here in the Valley. So much so, that when asked, Schwabenlender says that until we address systemic racism, we will never even come close to solving homelessness.

“When we look at race, again it’s very hard to have the conversation," says Schwabenlender, "but if we were to truly get to what’s behind why people of color experience homelessness in an overrepresented way, we would come to solutions that would create a greater solution for everyone – this idea of targeted universalism.”

Says Crews, “It’s really uncomfortable to be homeless. It’s really uncomfortable to not know where your next meal will come from. That’s actual discomfort. The discomfort that you feel when what’s been keeping you comfortable is actually being threatened…that’s something that we need to solve.”

These conversations can be really awkward. Today is a day to educate and perhaps humble yourself. Sit in discomfort and push through. If you do want to celebrate, support Black-owned businesses, amplify Black voices, and listen to understand.

At the other side of these conversations is true freedom for all

Juneteenth Resources

$300,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

Thank you, Thunderbirds Charities! Keys to Change receives $300,000 grant for Critical Client Services

Renewing their commitment to our mission to end homelessness, Thunderbirds Charities has awarded Keys to Change a $300,000 grant to support, enhance and expand critical client services!

These funds allow us to provide ongoing support to individuals experiencing homelessness, and are a vote of confidence both for our current programming and for our vision for the future.

“Thunderbirds Charities is a role model for giving in the Valley. They understand the needs of community and how important philanthropy is to creating lasting impact,” said Keys to Change CEO Amy Schwabenlender. “We are deeply appreciative that Thunderbirds Charities continues to help us address and end homelessness.”

Funding will be used for programs including intake and assessment, housing and behavioral health navigation, and housing referral. Funding also helps with diversion, which focuses on reuniting people experiencing homelessness with family or friends to prevent the need to enter the homeless services system.

“With the continuing growth in our unhoused population, the services provided by Key Campus are more important than ever. We are immensely grateful that we have organizations like Keys to Change providing life changing support and truly making a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable community members.” George Thimsen, President of Thunderbirds Charities.

Come Tour with Us

Monthly Tours offered at Key Campus

Join us the first Wednesday of every month for a tour of the 13 acres and eight buildings that make up the Key Campus, learning along the way about the 15 incredible partner agencies that make the Campus so special.

Touring Campus is also a great way to learn about current events and ways to make an impact. Open to the public, must be 18+ years old.

Register online today!


Mission: Using the power of collaboration to create solutions to end homelessness

Be Like Mike.


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Human Services Campus dba Keys to Change | 204 S. 12th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85007 | 602.282.0853 | www.hsc-az.org

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