Community encouraged to contact agencies that provide resources to homeless

January 10, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — The 2018 Arizona Balance of State Point in Time counted 2,187 people experiencing homelessness on Jan. 23, 2018. This included 1,085 unsheltered persons and 1,102 persons residing in shelters.

Sometimes a community doesn’t know where to start in helping those who are homeless but Robert Brandefine, resource manager at the Guardian Foundation has some tips.

“A good thing to do is to call me and start by coming down and get to know the homeless that we help,” said Brandefine. “Sometimes it can be a calm evening; other times tensions are a little high — they can start yelling at each other. So if it’s their first time bringing food, clothes or other items it’s always good to go with someone who’s been there before.”

Brandefine said that a good thing to remember is that the homeless always need clothes, personal supplies and other items.

“If people can’t volunteer with their time, there are always other ways to help the homeless,” he said. “During this time of the year we are always accepting warm blankets, coats, socks, sleeping bags, tents, gloves and anything else for them to keep warm. During the summer, we are always looking for donations of water or money to purchase cold water for them.”

Stephanie Bethards, WestCare System Advocate for the Tri-State, echoed the same sentiment.

“For domestic violence victims we are always accepting donations of clothes, blankets, socks and other related things,” said Bethards. “Sometimes DV victims come into the safe house with only their clothes on their back and we try and supply them with a couple of things so they can be comfortable.”

Contact The Guardian Foundation at 949-275-6638 or through email at info@theguardianfoundationbhc.org.

There are homeless people in area who are retired veterans and, according to Ginger Gates, executive director at American Center for Educational Opportunities Inc., the best thing to do is to take them to the local Veterans Affairs service office.

“When veterans go down to the VA office, they can pull up their records and see how they can help them,” said Gates.

Mark Tierce, Mohave County director of the Veterans Resource Centers of America, agreed.

“Sometimes we get veterans who had everything stolen from them,” said Tierce. “When we run into that situation, we have protocols that we follow in order to help them the best we can. Getting a copy of their birth certificate and Social Security card is more difficult but we have a couple of ways to get that figured out.”

The Bullhead City Veterans Resource Center is at 1343 Hancock Road and can be reached at 928-444-1135 or through email at navrc@vetsresource.org.

Other homeless people in the area are minors who are attending schools in the Tri-state.

“If someone knows about students who are in a homeless situation the best thing to do is to contact one of the homeless liaisons at the school they are attending,” said Lance Ross, public information officer for Bullhead City Elementary School District 15 and Colorado River Union High School District 2.

One of those homeless liaisons is Nadina Angulo, family and homeless liaison for CRUSHD.

“We require that students fill out a form to see if they are living through hardship so we can help them as fast as we can,” said Angulo.

One of the grants that CRUHSD receives is Title I which provides many things, including shirts, shoes, backpacks, hygiene products and more.

“If I know that someone was in my shoes I would definitely tell them to go and talk to Nadina,” said a homeless student who attends Mohave High School. “She can help with big things like helping them get a place to stay and as small as getting a backpack with school supplies in it.”

Angulo can be reached at 928-758-3916, ext. 1232, or through email at nangulo@crsk12.org.

It’s a little more difficult to personally deal with domestic violence victims. That’s why Cheryl Debatt, WestCare Arizona Area Director and Bethards are sources available.

“If you or you know someone who is involved in domestic violence my biggest suggestion is to contact 928-201-5136,” said Bethards. “We help the victims get past their fear and we don’t leave them until we know that they are safe and stable. I had a lady who took me six months to get her out of her house and it took that long because I had to break her fear and get her to trust me. Once she trusted me, I went with a couple of sheriff’s deputies to her house to remove her from the unsafe environment. A year later, she is doing great after six years of being mentally and physically abused.”

Contact WestCare Arizona by calling 928-763-1945.

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