Catholic Charities is committed to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness find affordable, stable housing. Our team helps veterans and their families, people with severe mental illness and others who need shelter. We have multiple programs to help homeless persons throughout Northern Arizona.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Thinking Outside the Bin to Address Homelessness

Yarnell Fire Chief Jeff Shearer and Denise Roggio pictured with Pauline Gonzalez Yarnell Fire Chief Jeff Shearer and Denise Roggio pictured with Pauline Gonzalez

Emergency responders and community service outlets often encounter persons experiencing homelessness. However, their budgets rarely include supplies and resources targeted toward helping this vulnerable population.

To address this need, members of the homeless outreach team, PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) Program, created an initiative called ‘Thinking Outside the Bin’. They filled plastic bins with life-sustaining supplies and made them available to fire departments, police departments, food distribution centers, and other public service centers where people experiencing homelessness may come into contact.

Life-Sustaining SuppliesHomeless Outreach Kit

Each bin includes a tent, sleeping bag, tarp, flashlight, hygiene supplies, socks, hat, gloves, and poncho. Resource guides pertaining to the particular city/town/area that may be helpful, as well as, contact information for the PATH staff member in that area are also enclosed. Many of the life-sustaining supplies are generously donated by you - the community.

PATH Homeless Outreach Support Specialists Pauline Gonzalez (Yavapai County), Thomas Hayden (Coconino County), and Patricia Jacques (Mohave County) have had tremendous success implementing Thinking Outside the Bin. Pauline developed new collaborations with the Yarnell, Skull Valley, and Seligman Fire Departments.

Thomas reached out to Victim Advocates at both the Williams Police Department and Coconino County Sheriff’s Department in Valle/Tusyan to deliver bins. Last but not least, Patricia forged new relationships with the Food Drop Site and Fire Department in Yucca who were also willing to implement Thinking Outside the Bin.
Emergency responders are grateful to have a streamlined way to assist people experiencing homelessness that truly makes an impact in their lives.

Connection Among Service Providers

The goal of the bins is to create more connectivity, collaboration among service providers, and immediate response times for people experiencing homelessness, especially in rural areas where services are scarce and/or not easily accessed.

In the near future, PATH team members plan to engage nurses and other McKinney-Vento representatives in rural school districts. If they have bins readily available, they can immediately offer supplies and up-to-date resource information to anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

If you would like to contribute to Outside the Bin, please contact Richard Brust, PATH Program Supervisor at Catholic Charities, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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