Tags: Spotlight

5 Things You Need to Know About I-HELP

Posted 07.26.16 by Miranda

Maybe you've heard of I-HELP (Tempe's homeless shelter program) but if you haven't, here are 5 things you need to know about the important Tempe-based program! 


1.  I-HELP is the only shelter program available in the City of Tempe.

Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) offers the only shelter program available in the City of Tempe, the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP). Its goal is not only to provide for the immediate needs of homeless individuals, but also to offer them resources for finding employment and regaining self-sufficiency. In partnership with the local faith community, I-HELP provides emergency shelter, meals, workforce development, and life skills training. I-HELP operates in Tempe seven nights per week, 365 days a year.

Every night, a community of 35 to 40 homeless individuals are fed dinner and provided safe shelter by teams of faith community volunteers. Through the mobile shower unit “Shower Power” program, sponsored by the Henkel Corporation and the Dial brand, these clients also have access to proper hygiene, an invaluable tool in gaining and maintaining employment.

2.  Donated funds provide vital resources for finding employment and regaining self-sufficiency.

Imagine if you became homeless tomorrow - where would you keep all of your important documents? Wallets, passports, birth certificates, social security cards and IDs are often kept together in one place. This means that if one of those items happens to get lost or stolen, chances are that unfortunately ALL of those items get lost or stolen as well.

Here’s a list of items I-HELP is able to provide clients with YOUR financial donations and their associated costs:

  • $12 buys a replacement State ID Card
  • $4 buys a daily bus pass
  • $20 buys a weekly bus pass
  • $32 buys a replacement Birth Certificate
  • $50 buys one backpack for an I-HELP client
  • $100 buys (1) bed mat for an I-HELP client to sleep on

Something as simple as a state issued photo ID can be the number one barrier to someone getting access to services - including access to temporary shelters, affordable housing, government benefits like food stamp programs, hospital care, employment and more. Without access to these types of services, escaping homelessness becomes even more of an uphill battle.

3.  You can volunteer to provide dinner for a community of 35-40 individuals anytime.

We all have needs in life – one of the most basic being food to sustain and provide the energy needed to function and survive on a daily basis – and unfortunately, something many of us often take for granted. Homelessness is just one of the many reasons that might cause even this most basic need to go unmet indefinitely.

You can become a positive force affecting the progress in Tempe’s battle against homelessness easily by providing this most basic need anytime with a food donation that will serve a meal to 40 individuals. From food drop-offs to on-site preparation, I-HELP provides many options for those donating meals, including the opportunity to serve homeless individuals and enjoy a meal with the community.

4.  The Downtown Tempe business community will team up to provide a meal at least once a month.

Wednesday, June 29th marked the first I-HELP Volunteer Night for the Downtown Tempe community. We teamed up with the Grill on Mill and US Fries to provide a dinner to I-HELP clients at the Tempe Church of Christ. While those restaurants were generous in their food donations, several members of our DTA staff showed up onsite to help prepare and serve the meal. We took the opportunity to chat with some of the individuals in an effort to get to know them, give them an opportunity to tell us what they need and find out how we can help.

5.  TCAA’s I-HELP is 1 of the 5 beneficiaries of the Tempe Mission campaign.

We’re working with all of our stakeholders in hopes of having a positive impact on the homeless individuals that reside in Downtown Tempe with the Tempe Mission campaign. Our larger scope aims to raise money, collect needed items, mobilize volunteers and raise awareness. The financial goal is to raise $100,000 between July 2016 and June 2017 that will be directed to five social service agencies that aid those in need in Downtown Tempe. 100% of funds raised and donations collected will go to our partner organizations that are having a daily impact on the local need – one of which is TCAA’s I-HELP.

For more information and to JOIN THE MISSION, visit www.tempemission.com