At the beginning of my first day here, one of the staff members related a number of stories of how she fell asleep in ridiculous places after a long day working at the Andre House. I scoffed at her weakness as she talked about falling asleep in a stairwell at 7:30. Now, after my first day, I realize that will probably be me some day.
I went to a beautiful Mass as the basilica in downtown Phoenix. I received a tour of Andre House, which is a massive facility. I met a ton of people and saw no one who I knew before yesterday. I worked the front desk, helping a man whose trailer had burned down the week before, a mother who had just arrived in Phoenix with her son and nothing but a car, and a woman who had lost a good friend (actually see my next post for how that actually went). I stood outside for two hours handing out 509 meal tickets for dinner at the House. I had dinner outside at the transitional houses that the staff also operates. And this was technically my day off!
Phoenix is an intriguing city. I have been most impressed so far with how it serves its homeless population. Sometime ago, the city decided to centralize and consolidate the majority of poverty services in one area. Thus the Campus was born, of which Andre House is a member. Probably a dozen different agencies provide outreach in this multi-block area just west of downtown. Instead of having to trek all over town, the poor have practically all their needs serviced in one neighborhood. Talk about convenient!