1st Platoon Phoenix
The Objective: Help End Chronic Veteran Homelessness
In partnership with Project H3 VETS, a community collaboration coordinated by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness and working in conjunction with other organizations, the veterans of 1st Platoon Phoenix are dedicated making Phoenix the first city to end chronic veteran homelessness by summer 2014. On any given night, as many as 1,258 veterans are homeless, in emergency shelters, or in transitional housing units in Arizona. More than half are in the Maricopa County, encompassing the Phoenix-area.
The platoon’s objective is not just getting homeless veterans into temporary housing, but connecting veterans with a support system to keep them off the streets forever.
Alongside more than 125 volunteers, 1st Platoon Phoenix deployed into the city of Phoenix over a course of three nights in mid-October. They patrolled down dark alleyways and through dilapidated houses. Platoon members collected identification data and took a photo, ensuring follow-up service providers would be able to identify each homeless veteran. At the conclusion of the three-day mission, 75 homeless veterans had been located and were on a path to longterm rehabilitation and support services.
The Platoon Members
More than 40 veterans are currently volunteering their time in 1st Platoon Phoenix. They are led by Mission Continues Fellow Alumna Rachel Gutierrez. A veteran of the United States Army, Rachel completed her fellowship in 2012 and is a small business owner in the Phoenix. Some platoon members are combat disabled veterans. A few have experienced homelessness firsthand.
Together, they are forming a new unit, and providing leadership in their communities. Follow their progress over the next year as they continue to serve in Phoenix.