A place to call home: spotlight on Homeward Bound
July 28, 2022
At HiRoad, we believe in creating ripples of good in our communities. As an Arizona auto insurer, we wanted to create our own ripple effect inPhoenix by taking the vinyl from our billboards across the state and upcycling the material into handcrafted “Bags of Good,” ensuring no waste ended up in a landfill.
Our Bags of Good program continued its ripple in the community as donations to Homeward Bound, a nonprofit that provides housing, rent and utility assistance to thousands of local families facing homelessness and financial hardship. Families gathered at our HiRoad and Homeward Bound event to fill bags with everyday items and enjoy time with a trio of Arizona pro football stars—Dennis Gardeck, Will Hernandez and Maxx Williams—to hang out, autograph balls and play catch with the kids.
In an effort to keep good going, we met with Homeward Bound’s Chelsea Guffy, the marketing & events manager, to talk about the work the organization is doing and the impact we can have on those who are facing homelessness.
Why Homeward Bound is addressing homelessness
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What led you to the role you have at Homeward Bound?
A: As the marketing and events manager for Homeward Bound, I focus mainly on our fundraising events, marketing campaigns, emails, social media, website and any type of PR opportunities—including the community event that we hosted in collaboration with HiRoad.
Previously, I worked professionally in the nonprofit sector for about six years, and joined Homeward Bound because I wanted to do something purposeful and meaningful in Phoenix.
[Homelessness] is very abundant here. We have a lot of areas, as a lot of other states do, where people are struggling. Seeing that struggle and homelessness grow during the height of COVID inspired me to get involved.
Q: Could you tell us a bit more about Homeward Bound? How did it come into existence and how does it help the Phoenix community?
A: Homeward Bound has been around for a little over 30 years. We started out helping families in need find satellite housing—townhomes or smaller single family homes—to help them get back on their feet and into more stable living situations. One of the reasons this organization came to be was to provide tools for the entire family to find success.
In the late 90s to early 2000s, we opened our 76-unit campus for families. We no longer have the transitional part of the satellite houses, but our success rate shows a majority of people leaving our program with a higher paying job. I think 80 percent of the adults on our campus are employed and working towards making higher than minimum wage. They’re able to do that through the resources on our campus. It could be anything from resume building to learning how to research and find careers.
We also provide support for the entire family, including a daycare center on site and our Strong Foundations early learning center, which hosts youth programs for school-aged kids and teens.
When a resident leaves the Homeward Bound campus, they still have access to our resources, such as our food pantries and anything needed for their success.
Q: What is one thing you think people could do to help other families and individuals in the community who are struggling through homelessness?
A: One thing I do in the summer months is keep a case of water in my car or some type of snack to at least keep people hydrated and just give them some grace because you never know what could happen.
Another thing I always try to remind myself of is that [homelessness] could happen to anyone. You lose a job, you miss a payment, you lose your home. I mean, it can be that quick for someone who would never, ever see it coming. There’s always the stigma of drugs and spending money—that they've just kind of put themselves in this situation, and sometimes, that’s more than likely not the case.
I think when we put ourselves in those shoes and understand that this could happen to anyone, we can better support those organizations that are out there helping out.
Q: What are some goals that Homeward Bound has now and in the future that will help contribute to more mindfulness of others in Arizona?
A: A big part of our vision is for every family in the valley to have a home. We’re focused on working together with other organizations, including the city of Phoenix and the county, to provide more housing and resources to families. These collaborations, like ours with HiRoad, are so meaningful. It’s something our families need as they work towards greatness and do everything they possibly can to be successful.
We believe that every family has a different definition of success. That could be being able to save up for a deposit on an apartment, getting a job, getting a higher wage, going to college—any possible thing. We want each family to recognize what their success is and set them up with the resources, programs and services needed to help them meet that goal.The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with HiRoad®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. HiRoad is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. HiRoad makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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