Central Arizona Shelter Services, Inc.

Ending Homelessness, One Life at a Time

aka CASS   |   Phoenix, AZ   |  http://www.cassaz.org

Mission

Our mission is to prevent and end homelessness among individuals and families while advancing compassionate community solutions.

Ruling year info

1985

CEO

Lisa Glow

Main address

PO 18250

Phoenix, AZ 85005 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0500753

NTEE code info

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Homelessness is a growing humanitarian crisis in our community. For every 100 low-income renters, the Phoenix metropolitan area has only 20 affordable rental units available, ranking us near the bottom in the US. Also, Arizona has had the highest eviction rate in the country during the pandemic, which is expected to cause the rate of homelessness in our communities to rise dramatically. With many of our neighbors already one emergency, or rental increase away from homelessness, the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 could be catastrophic. This trend is expected to continue, with St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard warning that unemployment could rise as high as 30%. With the health and economic impacts of the pandemic expected to affect our community well into the future, CASS is committed to our efforts to safely shelter and house thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

EMERGENCY SHELTER

According to the “Valley of the Sun United Way Rapid Rehousing 250” study, one of the most significant factors to future success in permanent housing is access to shelter. Emergency shelter serves as a crucial stabilizing element for people experiencing homelessness. CASS’ Single Adult Shelter operates 24/7, 365 days a year and has never closed in 35 years. CASS also provides supportive services to those who are not in our shelter, although it is a smaller percentage of our clients.
To make shelter services as accessible as possible, CASS utilizes a low barrier shelter model, serving our community members with minimal barriers to admission. Clients do not need to be clean or sober, they do not have to have an income, and they do not have to accept services. However, service engagement is core to the CASS Model.
Recently, CASS has been vigilant in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering safe shelter and enhanced housing services to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. For social distancing and safety reasons, we had to reduce our adult shelter bed capacity from 470 to 400 at our adult shelter. We also have substantially shored up our housing programs to meet the growing need.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Case management is a core element to the CASS program design. As a 24/7 provider, the CASS adult shelter has case management hours in both the evenings and weekends in order to meet the needs of all clients with a 14-member case management team. Accessing case management more than doubles a client’s chance of having a positive housing exit outcome.
Securing permanent housing requires working through barriers our clients may face such as a criminal record, lack of income, or mental health diagnosis. One of the biggest values of the CASS shelter model is that staff can observe and interact with clients around the clock. Not only does this help build trusting relationships, it allows for quick and appropriate intervention when a client needs it, regardless of the time of day.
There are currently four primary case management levels:
1. Level One: Walk-in case management for quick service or housing questions. The vast majority of CASS clients (over 60%) stay less than 30 days.
2. Level Two: One-to-one case management: Approximately 25% of all adult CASS clients receive Level Two services, working with trained social workers to address their homelessness. All youth (ages 18-24) work 1-1 with the Youth Case Manager. Chronically homeless individuals are encouraged to enroll in case management, as are higher need populations, such as seniors and veterans.
3. Level Three: Intensive Case Management: Intensive case managers work primarily with clients who have severe physical and/or mental health barriers.
4. Level Four: Follow-Up Monitoring: Case managers follow-up with clients after they have attained housing to monitor current housing status and determine if further assistance is needed to maintain their housing. Through pending grants, we are seeking to provide more follow up to clients who are more vulnerable and at greater risk of recidivating into homelessness once housed.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Homelessness can have significant, long-lasting effects on young children. Prior to their stay at our Vista Colina Family Emergency Shelter, families frequently live in their cars, hotels, or move from one house or apartment to the next. Once they come to CASS, many children have experienced trauma from living on the streets or in highly unstable environments. This can be damaging to their development and ability to learn. The unpredictability and consequent lack of security that inevitably accompanies homelessness can also wreak havoc on a child’s development. Further, according to the American Psychological Association, homelessness has significant adverse effects on children and youth including hunger, poor physical and mental health, and missed educational opportunities.
For these reasons, CASS’s Child Development Program (CDP) is a critical element in the array of services that families receive at Vista Colina. All CDP teachers have completed extensive training on effective practices for working with and supporting children who have experienced trauma. Our teachers assess each child’s development, provide age-appropriate educational experiences, and foster a safe, stable environment with access to stimulating play.
Each child is assessed upon enrollment in the CDP. At this initial stage, at least 75% of the children are failing in one or more developmental domains: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and/or language development. This correlates with national studies, which have found that an estimated 75% of homeless preschoolers have at least one major developmental delay; and 44% suffer from two or more delays, including in common milestones such as speech, crawling and social skills. Early intervention can mitigate the effect of homelessness on young children, paving the way for a much brighter future.
Since the majority of children are only enrolled at the CDP for a short time, these preliminary assessments enable CDP teachers to begin addressing developmental delays as quickly as possible—and partner with the parents to develop plans for longer-term support for their children. When children are identified as “out of target” for their age range, CDP teachers use assessment results to customize, track, and adjust (as needed) each child’s learning goals. CDP teachers also connect parents with local free resources to help address their children’s identified needs.
Daily activities at the CDP are based on the evidence-based Creative Curriculum. They are designed to promote social, emotional, and cognitive development, and include art, music, indoor and outdoor play, language and literacy, and STEM education.
Importantly, while children are enrolled in the CDP, their parents partner with case managers to address their immediate housing and employment needs, as well as underlying factors that may have led to their homelessness.
Once they are prepared to move on to their new homes, each family member is more capable of coping with the physical, psychological, and emotional impacts of their past homelessness. The children are better prepared to excel in school, and the parents are better prepared to build financially stable, self-sufficient lives for their families.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

At CASS’ Vista Colina Family Emergency Shelter, homeless families can shelter in place in independent apartments and access services, including a laundry room, clothing closet, food pantry, lending library, job resource area, playground, and common areas. Shortly after families enter the shelter, parents work with a case manager to develop a plan that addresses their specific needs, including finding permanent housing and work, as well as accessing other services such as health care, behavioral health care, substance use disorder treatment, and disability support.
Families also are able to utilize our Child Development Program (CDP), the only 5-Star rated program in a homeless shelter. The CDP ensures that parents can work and find housing while their children are being cared for, while also helping to mitigate the developmental effects of homelessness on children. All of these services help Vista Colina families be successful, with 78% of families having positive housing outcomes.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

CASS follows the Housing First model, operating three key programs: Rapid Rehousing (RRH), Financial Assistance, and Homelessness Prevention. During the past six years, the CASS RRH program has served thousands of community members, with more than 83% successfully transitioning to permanent housing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have substantially shored up our housing programs to capitalize on all opportunities to move people into both transitional and permanent housing as quickly as possible. In the month of April at the height of the pandemic CASS housed 138 community members through our rapid rehousing, eviction prevention and flexible financial assistance programs. During the first three months of the pandemic alone, we helped 321 people move into housing.

With no end in sight for the pandemic, CASS is committed to remaining vigilant in our efforts to safely shelter and serve thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Despite the unanticipated difficulties brought on by COVID-19, CASS has been vigilant in adapting our services and keeping people safe. We got into action in early March and, following CDC guidance, implemented rigorous safety and cleaning procedures at both of our shelters, as well as partnered with public health for weekly testing. Our efforts have paid off with a relatively low number of COVID positive cases in the hundreds of people we have served since the pandemic. As part of our COVID-19 efforts, our agency opened a temporary shelter at a hotel for 65 vulnerable seniors: Project Haven Hotel. This program is having incredible success in helping highly vulnerable seniors to stabilize and move onto permanent housing. We are working on opening a permanent facility for seniors, modeled after the Project Haven model where all clients have 1-1 case management and other wrap around support.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
Homeless people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of clients experiencing homelessness

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people using homeless shelters per week

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

EMERGENCY SHELTER

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

# of bed nights per week

Number of homeless participants engaged in housing services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

HOUSING SERVICES

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

# housed through our internal housing programs. (PLEASE NOTE: Additional clients are housed through referrals to housing-related community partners)

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our current organizational goals are focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those experiencing homelessness in our community. Our primary programmatic goals are:
1. Shelter, protect, and isolate 450-500 individuals experiencing homelessness per day at the CASS adult homeless emergency shelter and the CASS Project Haven hotel.
2. Shelter 100-120 family members per day at the CASS family emergency shelter.
3. Support 700 people who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness to get back into housing.
4. Minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Our fiscal year key impact goals are:
• 5,000 individuals and family members experiencing homelessness provided safe shelter and supportive services.
• 200,000 bed nights provided to individuals and family members experiencing homelessness.
• 700 individuals provided with internal housing services assistance (including rapid rehousing, flexible financial assistance, eviction prevention, and relocation assistance)

CASS addresses three critical community needs: 1) the need for immediate shelter for those experiencing homelessness; 2) the need for support/case management services to help those in shelter overcome barriers; and 3) the need for assistance in finding stable housing. CASS' programs aim to shelter, support, and house our community members experiencing homelessness and are informed by current effective practices. Extensive research supports that low-barrier/demand shelter programs, such as those offered at CASS, are most effective when coupled with case management and other engagement strategies. (Effectiveness of Case Management for Homeless Persons: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Public Health, October 2013, Vol. 103, No. 10). Through our decades of services, this has also been CASS’ experience. Put simply, 1:1 direct support helps case managers build rapport and trust with clients facing many challenges. From this foundation, we are able to help people resolve their homelessness permanently.

CASS acknowledges the human dignity of each client and takes a holistic approach in ending each person’s experience of homelessness. Minimal barriers to shelter entry make it possible for the most vulnerable clients to access services. We combine that with a progressive case management model that ensures individualized support based on the needs of every person. This approach makes a lasting impact in the lives of those who go through our doors: people who move into housing after stabilization in a shelter are more likely to sustain their housing.

A little support can go a long way in ending someone’s homelessness. Whenever possible, staff reunites new clients with family or friends across the country by providing individuals with bus tickets. In some cases, case management has even been able to help clients return to their own homes after they had become stranded in Phoenix. CASS also manages funds to assist clients with move-in costs and eviction arrears. These funds help alleviate expensive up-front costs and expedite the move from shelter to housing.

CASS fosters an environment of ongoing learning among staff members to maintain the most current and effective practices. Staff and case management receive training in trauma-informed and client-centered care, mental health first aid, and motivational interviewing. CASS also remains in dialogue both with clients and the community to find new solutions and grow as an organization upon a strong foundation of respect, innovation, and partnership.

Founded in 1984, CASS is Arizona’s largest and longest serving emergency shelter program for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In the 35 years since its founding, CASS has worked tirelessly to end homelessness by providing shelter, case management, and housing services to more than 150,000 community members.

CASS is led by Lisa Glow, who holds a J.D. and has more than two decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, as well as extensive experience in public policy, fundraising and nonprofit capacity building. CASS’s Single Adult Shelter is supervised by Program Director Mary Glennon, who holds an MSW and has been with the agency for nine years. CASS’ Family Emergency Shelter is supervised by Kira Boothe, Family Programs Manager, who has an M.Ed. in Education Curriculum and Instruction and a BS in Business Administration, as well as over 20 years’ experience in the child development field.

All direct service staff, including client care coordinators, navigators, security, and case management, receive training in trauma informed care. Case management receives additional training in housing resources, motivational interviewing, and mental health first aid.

In the 35 years since its founding, CASS has worked tirelessly to end homelessness by providing shelter, case management, and housing services to more than 150,000 community members. During FY 2020, CASS:
* Served 5,649 community members experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
* Provided shelter to 5,265 individuals and family members, for a total of 216,840 bed nights
* Supported 2,225 clients with case management services
* Housed individuals provided with internal housing services assistance (including rapid rehousing, flexible financial assistance, eviction prevention, and relocation assistance)
* Helped 1,485 find a home!

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Central Arizona Shelter Services, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 4/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Karl Obergh

Ritoch-Powell & Associates

John Rivers

Hospital Administrator--Retired

Guy Mikkelsen

State of Arizona--Retired

Bryan Murphy

Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.

MiAsia Pasha

House of MiAsia

M. Joyce Geyser

Retired Attorney

James Morlan

Electric Supply, Inc.

Portia Erickson

Erickson Land & Cattle Company--Retired

Nico Howard

Independent Attorney and Developer

Lisa Glow

CEO

Samantha Jackson

Downtown Phoenix Partnership

William Morlan

Electric Supply, Inc.

Colin Shipley

IWS Public Affairs

Jeff Stapleton

City of Phoenix – Community & Economic Development Department

Jonathon Vento

True North Studio

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/27/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/27/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.