Weekly Newsletter | May 8, 2024

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

Deborah's Determination - A 3-part series

Deborah’s Story is a powerful reminder of just how dire the local housing market has become, with predatory rent increases and eviction rates at an all-time high. It’s also a story of hope, empowerment, and community activism. 


Join us in this three-part series as we get to know Deborah. 

Part 1 The first thing you notice when you meet Deborah is her knowing smile. She looks younger than her 70 years and even with limited mobility, she doesn’t mind the 3-story walk-up at her new apartment – a climb which she laughingly calls her "daily physical therapy." 

As we looked around her new spacious 1-bedroom apartment for a place to sit down to chat – more laughter. It’s completely empty until movers arrive with her furniture from storage this week.  

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, we made our way to a picnic table in a downstairs courtyard, where Deborah opened up about her experiences. Through our conversation, we came to know Deborah as her chosen family knows her – she’s compassionate, quick-witted, and justice-minded. Outspoken, yet camera-shy.  


The risk factors that lead to Deborah’s homelessness speak to current trends. She has never been homeless before, and hadn’t imagined herself ever being in this position. She's over 65, living on social security income, supplemented with a part time job. 


“I know it’s not just me – it's happening everywhere. And they know what they’re doing.” She’s witnessed neighbors being priced out of their homes after decades of tenancy. She has no history of mental illness or substance use, though she agrees that neither should condemn you to homelessness.   

It was mid-2023 when her life came crashing down around her, fast. After 14 years in the same townhouse, Deborah found herself unable to keep up with rent increases and additional fees that were tacked on with each lease renewal.

Even with the astronomical increases, she managed to pay down the principal each month. For the accrued fees, she’d hoped as a long-time tenant in good standing, that property managers would work with her. Initially, verbal agreements were made in good faith.  


Within days of one such agreement, the management company did an about-face and became completely unresponsive. A few days later, Deborah came home to a 5-day eviction notice slapped on the same front door she’d walked through for the past fourteen years. The dominos fell quickly from there.  


Within a week, she found herself in a virtual courtroom waiting to plead her eviction case, her only hope of staying in her home. With her mind racing and her options unclear, Deborah described the difficulty of navigating the court proceedings while trying to maintain her work-from-home job as a health insurance support specialist. She recalls the helpless feeling.


“You just wait and wait and wait... for hours all day long for your name to be called - it was insane. Finally I just gave up because the landlord there kept telling me - you’re gonna lose anyway. You’re gonna lose anyway.In the chaos, she was forced to quit her remote healthcare job. Without secure internet access, she became ineligible to fill job requirements handling sensitive data. So there she was, her world turned on its head.

In less than two weeks, after 70 years. No job, no apartment, and nowhere to go. 


To add insult to injury, Deborah was given little time to make arrangements for her possessions. She moved what she could into storage. But her entertainment system, couches, dishware, and multiple bikes, she estimates at least $6,000 worth of property, now belonged to her landlord. 


At the time of her eviction, her rent had ballooned to $1,700 a month plus utilities. That's more than she receives monthly from Social Security by a long shot, not to mention the cost of food, clothing, transportation, internet, etc. On her first night out, Deborah managed to book a hotel room, which was the beginning of a new and terrifying chapter.  


Scared, alone, and angry, Deborah spent the next few months bouncing from place to place, unsure exactly when her funds would run out, and knowing that that day would soon come. Follow us for part two of Deborah’s housing journey in next week’s newsletter. 

Project Connect - Tempe Results

Project Connect Tempe

"This place proves that we shouldn't quit and that someone cares even if we don't, or can't."

- Unhoused guest at Project Connect Tempe

On April 23 at the University Presbyterian Church in Tempe, 118 guests received 380 service connections from 32 providers.

Successes include:

  • CASS transported three individuals to emergency.
  • St. Vincent de Paul held a raffle for guests, giving away 10 bikes with locks.
  • Phoenix Rescue Mission enrolled four individuals in their outreach and residential program.
  • Hundreds of hot meals were served, along with the best church coffee we've ever tasted!
  • In one emotional moment from the day, a young man agreed to addiction treatment and entered a program the same day.

Thank you to City of Tempe HOPE, Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, University Presbyterian Church, service providers, as well as volunteers from APS, Rocket Mortgage, Mark-Taylor and more. This was a true community collaboration, and a wonderful, connective day.

Upcoming Opportunities

Water Bottle Donation Drop-Off

June 1, 9:00am - noon

With over a thousand clients seeking services from 15 partner agencies every day, we expect to distribute 600,000 bottles this summer. We need your support!

Hold a drive in your community or purchase on your own, then drive up and let us unload! Our partner organization of the month is Circle the City.

Click below for details, and to learn more about heat relief at Key Campus.

Thirst Aid 2024

Tour Key Campus

June 5, 9:00am

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+.

Register online today!

Register to Tour

Volunteer in the Post Office

Ongoing, Monday - Friday

Retired? Extra time on your hands? Are you looking for an opportunity that's ongoing, consistent, and rewarding?

Help file mail as it arrives, connect clients with their parcels, and get to know the trials and triumphs of Campus life in this one-of-a-kind environment. Must be 18+

Start an application online, or click below to request more information!

Request Info

Catch up on what you missed!

Did you miss the latest episode of the McQuaid Mission on It Happens at STN?

Are you tired of the 24/7 negative news cycle, and curious about the good work happening in your own backyard?

Catch up any time at stntv.com!


Be Like Mike.

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


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

Stay Connected

Facebook  X  Instagram  Linkedin  Youtube