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

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

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
  • I was 13 years old when my mother kicked me out of her house on Christmas day, she was using drugs and I was asking her to stop. I never went back to live with my mom. I didn’t have a phone, or even my dad’s number to reach him so I stayed at a couple of friends’ houses over the years. When I turned 16 years old a friends mom got an apartment in her name but let me live there, I worked multiple jobs and paid for the apartment. After getting my own apartment in New Mexico, my nieces got taken into the DCS, and so  emancipated myself at 16 years old (in New Mexico you can do it at 14 years old) and took my nieces in to live with me in the apartment. We lived together for a year and I took care of my nieces. But, in New Mexico even with emancipation, the primary guardian has control legally until you’re 18 years old, and my father, who was using drugs, and was my legal guardian at the time, told something to the authorities and I lost my emancipation status and was sent to live with my mother in California. My mother at that time as an alcoholic, I only stayed with her for two weeks, before finding a friend to live with. Through all of this I almost dropped out of high school; at times I was working three jobs to be able to pay for my apartment, and bouncing from New Mexico to California and between homes,  but I graduated. I applied to multiple colleges, including Prescott College. I wrote a scholarship essay based on something about my life and I wrote about homelessness, I was awarded a full scholarship to attend Prescott College.  When I came to PASS, I was having a difficult time. I had packed up everything of mine to start a Prescott College on a full scholarship. On the way to Prescott, I found out I didn't have a place, and PASS immediately helped me. When I got to PASS I thought it was going to be dirty and that I would feel unsafe, and that I was just going to get a bed. I was wrong! From the moment I stepped through the doors they provided blankets, comfort, food etc. I felt safe at PASS, but of course did struggle with the women because I didn't know them yet, but within a few weeks, I made friends for life. The staff were helpful, I met with my Case Manager and she helped me connect with resources, apply for DES, and supported me with vouchers to do laundry, get gas and to get household items once I moved into my own place. They were flexible with my schedule, allowing me to get a job and work the hours I needed. When I left PASS because I found my own apartment, I didn't have a way to move the furniture donated and given to me by the DAV. They stopped what they were doing and helped me move! PASS has left me speechless, I still want to stop by every day to say hi because they became like a family for me. PASS is an unforgettable place that I will never leave behind. 
Mary
  • I left an abusive relationship of 12 years before coming to PASS. In the twelve years together we bought a house, a car and had three beautiful children; but I couldn’t do it anymore so I left. Leaving him was the first time I ever found myself homeless, and I am thankful I had PASS to turn to. Three months ago, before arriving to PASS, I would have stood before you with only silence. I lost everything I had worked so hard for, and I didn’t know where to start. Having no clue what the future may hold for me, I sat with my head down during my intake at the shelter with not much to say except “thank you.” During my first meeting, Katee took my hand and told me everything was going to be okay and I it gave me hope when I really needed it.  Everyone at PASS has their own story, and everyone works together to support each other as best we can. I appreciate the fact that at PASS, there is no judgement. All of the staff and volunteers are there to help us and support us. We are all treated equally and there is no favoritism, which is helpful when you feel like you are at the lowest point in your life. When you reach that point, it is hard to have people around you that make you feel even worse, but that does not happen at PASS. It is a warm and caring environment, I felt safe and cared for when I needed it the most.  Staying at PASS was more than a bed; the staff and volunteers have given me the tools to be successful long term. I gained self-confidence, I learned life skills, financial skills and I am more aware of my actions and behaviors to others now.I worked hard with my Case Manager and at our meetings and was able to get a job and start saving. With the provided taxi vouchers I could get to and from work and then an amazing thing happened, they gave me a car. A car had been donated to the shelter, and because I had a job and could afford the title and insurance, it was given to me and it changed my life. Having transportation is so helpful in order to reach success and I am proud to say, it is the first car I have ever owned all by myself. PASS not only helped me get out of homelessness, they changed my life for the better. They have not only changed my life, but I have seen many other women and families leave the shelter and move into their own home. I am blessed and thankful I found PASS and that I got to be apart of such an incredible, kind and supportive environment. I now have life long friends, skills that I will take with me, and this month I will even receive my GED. Thank you PASS staff and volunteers, but also everyone here. Your donations and support make the shelter possible and I could not be more grateful. 
Megan
  • Being at PASS was a wonderful experience. It was heartwarming because they welcomed me with open arms. I wasn’t sure what to expect once my sons and I moved in. All of the other guests were great as well, they were loving and respectful. The other guests at the shelter are hard working too. What I loved was that it was so clean and organized. Everyone did their chores and followed the rules. Safety was the number one concern, they have safety procedures as well as designated areas for cleaning items. The volunteers do a great job making sure everything runs smoothly. If you need anything you can ask and PASS has all of the necessities of everyday life. Carmen and Meredith are the most wonderful and helpful ladies I have ever met. They listened to me and helped me come up with solutions. When I would think my world was ending, they would say “no” and make sure of that! Then the next day they would fill me with the biggest smiles and say we have great news! The support they offered me and my family changes our lives, now we own our own trailer, I continue to work full time, and my sons are getting the support and services they need. Thank you, PASS, for putting a roof over our heads and helping us moved into our own place!
J
  • My time at the shelter has been really good for me, I have grown in many ways. I feel safe and secure here, which I have not felt since in years. The shelter has helped me set goals and move forward with them. The Case Manager, Marissa, has helped me to see my situation with a positive attitude and in a new and better perspective. The staff at the shelter are wonderful, and so are the volunteers who go above and beyond to helps us and be there for us in our time of need. I have had a couple of setbacks with medical issues since arriving at the shelter and the staff has assisted me as I work through them and get back on my feet, literally. I cannot thank everyone who supports the shelter enough, it has changed my life and given me hope again when I needed it most.
Brenda
  • One of the greatest pleasures I have experienced is being on the Board of Directors for PASS these last few years. Whenever I have the opportunity, I talk about Sometimes I’ll be in the checkout line at the store, sometimes it’ll be at the plant store or at feed store. I try to take advantage of every situation I can to extol the benefits of being involved with our mission. There is a definite reward for what we all do at and for PASS. We may not see it in front of us; it may take several years and a few hundred other guests before we are blessed to know the impact our actions had on someone. I recently had the pleasure of spending time with my 96 year old mother at a senior care center in Oregon. I realized that many of the guests there had no family and no outside interaction with others. Some of the residents were literally on the street before they arrived at the center. Being homeless isn’t always a choice one makes-many times the homelessness arrives uninvited and unwelcomed, but nonetheless it must be dealt with on an immediate basis. Anger is a normal emotion at being in a state that was forced upon oneself. Anger often leads to immobilization and inaction. Getting out of inaction takes assistance. Our case manager, program director and executive director are excellent in assisting our guests to get from hopeless and homeless to action and resolution. PASS is truly blessed to have such a dedicated staff and appreciative guests. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you for your participation, your donations, your perseverance and most of all your belief in our mission.
Board President
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