Angie Lozano, Director of Angie’s House, participated in a forum aimed at finding solutions to the homeless situation and panhandling in Cottonwood, Arizona. Lozano, who operates sober living homes, has also opened up a homeless shelter that has been available all day when temperatures exceed 105-degrees.
The June 26 Forum was a partnership between the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce and the City. Chamber Director Lana Tolleson said the forum is a response community concerns about the widespread presence of homeless in the community and the city and community effort to respond with answers and solutions.
The Forum took place at the Cottonwood Recreational Center and included Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell, Angie Lozano of Angie’s House, Darryl Reynolds of Catholic Charities program to transition from homelessness, Kelly Wilson of Old Town Mission and April Razo of Spectrum Healthcare.
The Cottonwood Police Department has teamed up with social service agencies to find services for those who need mental health or counseling care for those with addictions to alcoholism and drugs and to set them up with resources, mental health providers and substance abuse treatment. The police have also teamed up with retail stores who find people involved in an ever-growing problem of panhandling on their street corners in order to exclude those involved in aggressive panhandling with the Safe Shopper Program.
The Safe Shoppers program allows retailers to establish an advanced relationship with police to assist with excluding panhandlers when they are not wanted on their property.
The post-arrest diversion program takes subjects who may have been arrested for minor infractions to get counseling and alcohol and drug assistance instead of simply being jailed.
The panel also unveiled a new program that would take donations that people would otherwise give to the homeless on the street and to use the money for programs to benefit the homeless. That program will be called Cottonwood Cares. A website, www.Cottonwoodcares.com is now under development.
Read the complete article in the Verde Independent: