I work for the shelter as an overnight advocate. Originally from Phoenix, I am happy about Prescott Area Shelter Services. I've worked in other shelters. PASS is beautiful, clean, organized, and well stocked with many items for the women and children. Case management helps so many women get back on their feet from circumstances that they found themselves in. The staff, volunteers AND guests are great to work with, and it's exciting to see changes in the guests from beginning to end. Our community is also great by providing meals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other items for our guests. I give PASS five stars, because it's the best!
I have volunteered with this organization for two months now. I have worked with dozens of non-profits over the years and PASS exceeds all. This organization provides a beautiful, clean , structured environment for women & families in need.
I have never felt so educated and appreciated as a volunteer. The staff is friendly and they communicate excellently with volunteers and guests. I love to see how they encourage volunteers to treat guests with the utmost respect during this difficult time in their lives. PASS does their best to provide guests with sundries, clothing (if needed), nourishment, case management & a healthy environment to ease the difficult of their situation.
I would love to see PASS receive more support to continue what they do for women & families in Prescott.
Piper Stoeckel, Prescott Resident & Volunteer
I’ve been with the shelter for a little over 2 years and look forward to many more. This place holds respect for all guests and expectations that have led individuals to succeed in ways they may have not thought possible. In the shelter’s warm and inviting atmosphere the guests, staff, and volunteers are inspired to work together towards common goals.
Volunteering with this shelter (PASS) has been a new and positive experience for me. The guests (women and children) are given a great deal of respect, encouragement and assistance in finding homes, jobs, health care and stability. Working here has inspired me to want to do more for my community and this population.
Thank you Prescott Area Shelter Services! Thank you generous donors!
Cynthia Lawrence considers herself of hearty stock, a self-reliant woman able to take whatever comes.
A twice-divorced, 69-year-old mother with two adult sons and 12 grandchildren, she retired from sales management and then worked part-time as a housekeeper. She never expected she would run out of funds.
In the summer of 2017, the then-Montana resident opted to uproot before the seasons changed “because I’d had enough winter and cold to last me the rest of my life.”
One of her sons flew her out to Colorado for a visit. She then went to stay with a sister for about a month in Utah where she helped take care of the family horses. She admits she was aimless, but come late fall she knew she could no longer rely on family; she yearned to reclaim her independence.
Her sister had some connections in Prescott Valley, so Lawrence piloted her truck to northern Arizona.
“I’m not sure what happened. I just lost all focus,” Lawrence said of finding herself after two weeks in a hotel with no place to go and no money to pay for another night. “I felt like I was somebody else … I had never run out of money in my life.”
With no options or prospects, Lawrence called for home assistance. The operator who answered directed her to Prescott Area Shelter Services. Her fortunes turned: the 19-bed shelter for women and children had an opening; the downtown Prescott shelter runs most of the year at full capacity with a waiting list.
“She had a place for me. No obstacles,” Lawrence said of her case manager, Marissa O’Brien.
Unfamiliar with shelters, Lawrence said she arrived that November with no small amount of trepidation — she expected an oversized gymnasiums with mattresses on the floor.
Instead, Lawrence pulled up to a cozy house on North Rush Street just beyond Yavapai College.
Once inside, she was greeted with friendliness. In the back, mural-covered dormitory area she was assigned a single bed covered with a donated quilt and a trunk to keep her personal belongings.
Today, living in her own senior apartment in Prescott Valley, she said she feels divine forces led her to the place where she and others of all ages are treated to comfort and hope.
From the start, Lawrence said she was “treated like family.”
“These were people who really, really care,” she said.
Director of Programs Katee Norris said the shelter opened in 2007 and offers up to three months of housing for homeless single women and mothers with children up to age 12. The aim is to be a safe haven for these women in transition, including those who are in recovery from addictions, she said.
Each client works with O’Brien on a self-sufficiency plan with daily, weekly and monthly goals, Norris explained. On a daily basis, each client is required to be in the community working on their individual goals, be that obtaining mental or physical health care, addiction assistance, or employment that will enable them to secure permanent, affordable housing, she said. The shelter will provide up to a $500 match for clients who are able to save that as part of their transition plan, she said.
In PASS’ history — the agency became an official nonprofit charity in 2009 — the agency has provided assistance to 2,400 clients with 88 percent able to secure housing that enabled them to avoid future bouts of homelessness, Norris said.
PASS operates with a limited staff — Executive Director Carmen Frederic and O’Brien are the sole full-time employees with Norris working part-time; she is also a registered nurse. They then have four volunteer, overnight advocates and about 100 other volunteers who assist with everything from fundraising activities to serving the evening meal each day.
Every woman is expected to do chores at the shelter in the evening hours, and all of the clients and their children share an evening meal together.
“The food is awesome,” Lawrence said.
During her three-month, nine-day stay, Lawrence said she worked part-time as a housekeeper, volunteered at the library and spent time visiting some of the area parks. At the shelter, she strived to be a mentor to some of the younger women, and often picked up extra chores. She said she found the routine to be therapeutic. To Lawrence, the shelter enabled her to shed her prior “bulldog” tendencies.
At the end of it all, Lawrence managed with O’Brien’s assistance to secure long-term housing she could afford; a two-bedroom apartment in a 55+ apartment complex in Prescott Valley.
“This was a journey God put me on and wanted me to take,” Lawrence said of her temporary homelessness. “It redirected me. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t come here. I think they saved my life.”
I am honored to serve on the Board of PASS. I have volunteered for many years with many people/groups. All of these activities have likely been more beneficial to me than the people/person who I was working with, as I reflect back. PASS is truly an organization that can make a difference in the community and in vulnerable people's lives. Our success rate of nurturing people from homelessness to a more secure environment is an accomplishment that can last a life time for our guests. I chose PASS as an organization to be involved in as a result of the successes of the outcomes with our "guests."
And, I am thankful every day that PASS has allowed me to be a part of this success.
Patricia Watson, Ph.D.
Review from Guidestar
I have always given back to my community in various ways. An opportunity arose several years ago to become involved in PASS. Many of my clients in the legal field are homeless and need assistance getting back on their feet. I believe I have a great deal to offer the community while serving on PASS board and the clientele of PASS in the volunteer work I do.
Every time I hear from our clients about their struggles turned into success, my heart overflows. More individuals and organizations need to hear the summaries of our clients to understand what PASS contributes to Yavapai County.
Review from Guidestar
I have always worked with and helped women. In the Air Force I was a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, so when I retired and moved to Prescott I wanted to continue helping women. I have seen how life circumstances can lead to homelessness in women and children. I desired to help these women and children get back in control of their lives and empower them to self- improvement. The PASS volunteers and staff treat the clients with respect and kindness as they transition to self-reliance. The programs and services offered are of high quality and are delivered with dignity and compassion. This matched my belief system and now I am proud to be a face for PASS as a board member. With every success story PASS has, I am driven to continue our cause to end homelessness.
Carol F Nelson, Lt Col, USAF (retired)
Review from Guidestar