Under Transition: The evolution of co-location and its approach to homelessness

Authors: Cory Sanchez*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Homelessness, co-location, urban geography,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper concerns the evolution of the city of Phoenix’s Human Services Campus (HSC) and its founding coalition that successfully co-located various charitable associations, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits typically associated with homeless people. The HSC is part of a growing trend in several US cities that are changing their existing homeless shelters (or creating new) co-located facilities which advocates stress, constitutes a novel approach to homelessness. Co-located services intend to offer holistic support by addressing the basic needs of homeless people (food, shelter, medical care) and services designed to target causes of homelessness including (employment, mental health, and substance addiction programs). Advocates emphasize co-location reduces burdens to obtaining services and uses collaboration to improve welfare provisioning. Situated in urban geography, two questions remain to be asked. First, are co-located facilities delivering on their promises? Second, how co-location being re-conceptualized? Using interviews with homeless clients I evaluate the HSC’s ability to reach their goals. I also examine how providers are responding to demands made by their funders. In Phoenix, nonprofit leaders reconfigured the HSC’s governance structure to address programmatic oversite and goal formation. I interrogate the spatial conceptualization of such changes. I show co-located facilities are being re-understood as interstitial spaces rather than the “one-stop gateway” to ending homelessness. Using interview and archival data, I analyze the HSC’s governance structure, organizational partnerships, and funding contracts to show governance genealogies re-conceptualizing co-located facilities. These findings are relevant to Phoenix, and useful for comparative analysis to similar co-located facilities in the United States.

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