From Our Guests

It is really hard to get help sometimes.

This is the thought that rings through my head after a day like today, after sitting for three hours at a behavioral health agency for an intake with a woman suffering from paranoia and delusional thoughts, only to be told by the therapist, “I’m not sure how we can help her, maybe you can come back another day.”

Or, after telling a motivated, sober, working woman that she must remain homeless for two more months due to legal red-tape preventing her from moving into affordable, permanent housing.

And again, after calling a former employer (again) to request the documentation required for an elderly, mentally ill woman to reinstate her health insurance and refill her medication.

And that was just today.

As defeating as setbacks are on days like this, I know that there are solutions. And tomorrow, I will get to be part of the solution. Through advocacy, persistence, and a bit of creativity, I know that I will get to play a role in helping them access services that will improve their circumstance, end their homelessness, and in some cases even save their lives. I find that very rewarding.

Case management at PASS has been a thoroughly positive experience. I came to the shelter after eight years of experience working with the homeless in different settings. My experience has taught me that a case manager can only be as good as the agency she works for.

At PASS, I have thrived thanks to the freedom to meet each client with a compassionate, individualized approach. Each woman is able to identify her own goals and together we create a roadmap out of homelessness. Though I cannot reverse the tragic effects of addiction, mental illness and abuse, I am grateful for the opportunity to sit with the women at PASS as they begin to put the pieces of their lives back together. As hard as it is to get help sometimes, it makes it that much more rewarding for me when I get to see my clients succeed.

Marissa O’Brien Case Manager
Hello, my name is Cynthia and this is my story.
Ive always been very independent, but in this discovery of running out of money, I knew I had to find help. When I called PASS  I told Marissa I needed a place to stay because I had run out of money and had slept in my truck and that night I had a nice warm bed to sleep in. Thank you, Lord!
I thought a shelter was a big gymnasium with a lot of mattresses on the floor, very impersonal, and I am so glad I was wrong!
PASS gave me my own personal space and a loving atmosphere to live in, the shelter became my home. I lived at the shelter for 3 months and 9 days. It's not an experience  I will ever forget, but rather will choose to remember because it was a good one.
During the day while we had to be away from home, I went to the Prescott library and kept a pretty regular schedule of studying and researching. In December 2017, I took a part-time job as a residential housekeeper.

Once a week I met with Marissa. At our first meeting she explained to me what we’d be doing and that she would give me 3 tasks to complete by the next time we met. I always completed the tasks or if I needed help, I would ask Marissa when I saw her during the week. Some of the tasks included getting food stamps, check on apartments, get a job, go to labor force and Goodwill to get further help and ideas. Marissa kept me on track. The everyday routine served to keep me involved and busy making progress for my own future.

Because of that, I told the other girls at the shelter to listen to Marissa and do what she says. I believe in so doing we have the key to our own success. Marissa has the expertise. She knows what she is doing and what we need to do to make progress. Each step is important, thank you Marissa!

I followed all of the rules, I made my bed, kept all of my belonging in the chest and my “bedroom” area was always neat. I cleaned up after myself, and helped others when appropriate.

I always tried to encourage those who seemed down and praise those who did a good job. I wanted them to know that I cared about them and appreciated what they were doing.

I told some of the overnight ladies how much I appreciated them taking care of us. Also, the 5-8 pm volunteers were awesome. They shared dinner with us, and we enjoyed talking about things. All of the staff and volunteers made us feel like we belonged and were loved. They their responsibilities for us very seriously and made us feel safe and sound. From my heart, I thank all of you! I appreciate what you’ve done for us more than I know how to express. You are all a gift to be treasured and I do!
Now, I would like to thank the many others who helped us. We may not know you personally, but we certainly appreciate you!

Meal providers, thank you! You always brought us such wonderful dinners and desserts! We could tell they were cooked and baked with much love.

Volunteers and donors, thank you! Thank you for your time, money, meals, donations of clothing and toiletries. Thank you for caring for us so lovingly and faithfully. We never went without. You are SO special because you care so much for other people (most of whom you don’t even know), hurting people who are having a rough time. You didnt have to help us, you chose to!  My experience at the shelter will always be a constant reminder of how God has worked in my life to grow me up spiritually and make me a better and stronger person. I am a recipient of the grace of God through my stay at the shelter, this was actually one of the best experiences of my life because it has made me stronger. I believe we must received what has been given to us. The shelter was a gift from God to get me on my feet again. Thank you, Prescott Area Shelter Services for being there for me. I cannot imagine, nor do I care to think about, where I would have been without you. Thank you!

Sincerely and respectfully, Cynthia

Cynthia Family Shelter Client

Almost two months ago my family and I left a bad situation and came to PASS. Ever since we moved into PASS we have been given the opportunity to pick our feet up and put our lives back together. It is a very safe place to stay and we have been given many resources to get back to our own permanent home.  We were blessed with a vehicle through a program they referred us to and along with a safe, warm place to sleep can focus entirely on our goals. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us with donations, volunteering and more.

The F.'s Family Shelter Client

I found a home away from home at PASS. Carrying one bag and one objective I entered this new life of staff supported dorm living. At first, all I wanted was to be invisible, but then faced with questions and many different personalities to interact with, I slowly began to look people in the eye and converse. I also found laughter again, which felt like emotional dessert. My main objective was to get into the right program for depression and anxiety disorders, this I worked at tirelessly. However, many times I felt overwhelmed and disappointed during the process. To my surprise, each time I needed support or comfort or ideas, there was a staff member there to offer a hug, encouraging words or just a listening ear. The simplicity of thoughtfulness can make all the difference in a fragile life. I am deeply grateful and encouraged by the outpouring of kindness by staff and the wonderful volunteers. My journey is not over yet but I do know that when I leave here I am walking toward hope, and with the genuine support of PASS.

Candy Prescott Area Women's Shelter Client

Seven months ago I came to Prescott to turn my life around and someone referred me to PASS. I had lost everything except the clothes on my back and went to the shelter to talk to Katee; she welcomed me with open arms. Then I met Christine who I have the pleasure of calling my friend and she has also become one of my mentors, encouraging me to following my dreams. Then I met Carmen who I enjoy talking to. She has been helping me with resumes and hard decisions I have to face. These three ladies have been there for me through thick and thin and there is so much to thank them for. I want to thank them for trust, a second chance, a safe environment to get my self esteem back, job search and become self sufficient again. Thank you!

Jeanette Prescott Area Women's Shelter Client

My name is Chris and I wanted to write this letter to give you my history and explain how I am blessed to be able to stay at PASS. I was let go from my job of four years and I moved in with a roommate I found on craigslist, paying my rent up front for three months. I found out that I was not on the lease and my roommate was evicted due to nonpayment of rent, giving me less than 24 hours to find a place to go. I was able able to get a bed at PASS, but with a recently broken hand I could not get a job right away, but I felt helped and supported from the start from the staff and volunteers.

If it wasn't for the donations that are received and the wonderful people who volunteer their time I would be on the streets, as would a lot of other people. I want to be able to thank you all for everything you wonderful, caring, loving people do for people you don't even know. If it wasn't for PASS I would be completely lost.

On a positive note I am now working three jobs to try and get back on my feet. I may not be in a place of my own, but I do have a place right now I can call home. Home is where your heart is. I have this place because of all of you, and I personally want to thank each of you. Thank you to everyone for the donations you all give, the food you all provide and for all of the time you give to PASS whole heartedly. I know it is not something you have to do, but something you want to do and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Chris Prescott Area Women's Shelter Client

In December of 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity of joining the Prescott Area Women's Shelter community. With the death of my youngest son in October 2013, I was, even after a year of bereaving, still unable to cope with the loss. I had a form of survivors guilt that was emotionally debilitating, I was unable to formulate a plan for my next steps, and I didn't believe I deserved a next step in life. This terrible pain made me not able to feel worthy for anything good to ever happen to me, as what kind of mother would I be if I even had a spark of happiness.

I had no plan, and I rode my bike here to Prescott, AZ. I realized, passing Yavapai College, how much I missed art and so I immediately signed up for school. By the time I got to PAWS I had taken the COMPASS test, and was in the process of qualifying for financial aid.

When I got to PAWS I was encouraged by Carmen, the then Director, to go to school and not worry about a job until later. I took that advice and after about two months I secured a part time job doing janitorial work at night. When that job ended, because the school year ended, I got a job as a care-giving assistant.

My boss at the Care-home saw my potential and offered to pay for my care-giving certification class, which I recently completed. I will be a certified caregiver and will be beginning this month with new hours that will not conflict with school.

All of the staff and volunteers have been amazingly supportive, even helping me edit my English 101 papers. I have learned to honor the next step before me, to suit up, show up and even when doubts plaque me to distraction-never give up.

This week I will be moving out of the shelter and I am thrilled. I will always be indebted to PAWS to the support I received. Winter was cold and I had a warm bed. My clothing was sparse and I was given beautiful clothes, I was hungry at night and fed good nutritious food.

I am so blessed to have been part of this magical place called PAWS. Prescott should be very proud of their women's shelter and I hope to continue being a part of the PAWS story as I plan on doing volunteer work in the future. To give back to the place that gave me a second chance at life is the least I can do.

Prescott Area Women's Shelter Client

Hi ladies, my name is Amanda. I have been a guest at PASS since January 11th and actually just moved into my own place.

I really cannot convey to you all how much PASS has positively impacted and changed my life for the better, but I'm going to try.

I found myself in a very bad situation in Denver CO where I am from (go Broncos), when I decided I had to do something to change my life and definitely my environment.

I came to Prescott with a badly broken ankle, no money, and basically the clothes on my back, sounds like a bad situation right? Well, it was, believe it or not, much better than the one I ran away from.

So now, I needed to find somewhere to stay. I called around to places all day, using the library's phone and came across PASS. I called and after having to wait about a week, due to the waiting list, I received a call from staff asking if I still needed a place to stay, which I very much did!

So, I went to the shelter the following day and had my intake meeting. I remember after that meeting I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and the intense feelings of stress began to lessen and I felt much less vulnerable already. Things only got better from there.

I was able to get proper medical care for my ankle and set up with my insurance to pay for it with help from staff, along with help figuring out which state benefits to get help with counseling services, food and more.

I've had a meeting with my wonderful Case Manager, Marissa, once a week since I moved in and we would talk about my goals and realistic ways in which to achieve them. PASS also has been able to help me with $50 in gas or taxi vouchers each month, which for me was critical because of my broken ankle and also assistance with clothing vouchers and laundry vouchers, which made it possible for me to have clothes to feel confident in when I was able to start looking for work.

I have been able to save a bunch of money by staying at PASS as well. I have been working at my job for two months now and have been able to save almost every check towards getting my own place thanks to all of the assistance PASS provides, enabling me to save money.

A very delicious and hot meal is brought in by a different  volunteer group or family every night as well. All of the girls and the volunteers eat together like a family in the community room each evening. Having no family or friends here in Prescott this time is special to me. Well there is a little bit about me and how PASS has brought me from the point of crisis to a point in my life where things seem not only under control but totally manageable and the future is looking bright.

Suzanne Prescott Area Women's Shelter Client

The shelter offers the guests a stable, loving and supportive community. The staff are very compassionate and do whatever is necessary to assist the guests with their needs. When a guest arrives for the first time within minutes the ladies are taking her under their wing and helping her to feel at home. The ladies console each other in times of need, they share employment opportunities with each other, they support each other, they are family.

Volunteer

Imagine the most horrific car accident.

You are the Passer-by …

and as you PASS by …

you see the mangled vehicles,

Emergency workers are present … yet you SEE there is

That ONE ‘victim’ sitting nearby,

With dazed confusion on their brow … head bowed,

utterly devastated and Constantly questioning the

“How” & “Why” ‘this’ happened to ‘Them’.

Now, fast forward months or years and

imagine the same ‘Victim’ still there….

Time Passes…

their clothes become worn..

Careers ended by their physical & mental absence

And yet … after the debris is gone

they appear to the passerby as tired, sick, dirty, worn out &

“Homeless”

However, I recognize their “Waiting”….

for some one … Any one to ‘Rescue’ them from that ‘Accident’ …

No one shows…

So, eventually & IF the ‘Survivor’ instinct succumbs to a mode of Self

perseverance they may seek HELP …. Usually it passes them by.

Fortunately for Prescott, PASS does NOT ‘pass by’ those in need.

I believe PASS are the EMTs .. a ‘rescue center’ …

that ‘Helps’ women & their children who are struggling desperately to

survive the ‘accidents’ of their current circumstance.

So, Last year after delivering evidence regarding crimes against children to

federal agencies, I found myself homeless. Praise God because I know

HE guided me to PASS.

As a guest of PASS, I can testify that just as each guest struggles daily with

their circumstance so do those personally & professionally dedicated to

continue the constant search for resources & solutions.

I have often said to others that PASS is ‘the Hilton of shelters’.

From the volunteers who donate their time & talents

To the staff diligently & constantly seeking resources required for a warm,

safe & nurturing temporary home for women & children.

Together, the PASS staff & volunteers offer so much more than a warm

blanket & a hot meal… both of which are amazing! They offer themselves

as a beacon to brighten this dreary journey. Many of us have received eye

care, job placements, and transportation funding – Even Bicycles!!

because of the “behind the scenes” efforts of the staff & volunteers.

When I found myself in Arizona, I was not only homeless, I was alone.

This is no longer the case. Because as my Irish ancestors say, "It is in the

shelter of each other that the people live."

THANK YOU PASS for sheltering not only my heart but my future.

Prescott Area Womens Shelter Client

My name is April; I love PASS and all of the poeple who work and volunteer at the shelter, they have helped me tremendously! I would be lost without them in my life.

I had no home, and no one to turn to. I was just getting released from the hospital and my case manager and vocational rehabilitation therapist knew about PASS and arranged for me to go and meet with a staff member there.

I completed the intake with a very kind staff member, and she then gave me a tour. By the time I reached the kitchen area, which is only half way, I knew this was going to be a great place for my transition out of a state of feeling physically and emotionally hopeless.

I felt so welcomed by other guests, staff, and volunteers. During my stay I was cared for by everyone when I had a bad tooth infection. I got a ride set up to go to urgent care, and was checked in on. I've also been able to get new glasses from Prescott Noon Lions, and I got health insurance and food stamps.

After about a month I got a job that I love and could work towards a place of my own. PASS has a great program that will match me up to $500.00 if I save $500.00 and I am working.

I have taken some financial classes, and tenant/landlord classes that will help me stay on track and set positive goals for myself once I transition out. My future goals are to go to cosmetology classes, but first I need to get my GED, so I am enrolled at Yavapai College to complete that.

With this fresh start and renewed confidence from the support I received at PASS I feel good about reaching my goals and I feel like I have reached some of them. I move into my own place next week, I have already signed a lease.

During my time at PASS I have enjoyed meeting so many new ladies and children. There has been so much laughter, kindness, acceptance and love shared. I even find myself giving back by treating new guests with the welcoming kindness that I have received myself. I am so thankful PASS was there for me!

April Prescott Area Womens Shelter Client