One City, Many Stories
A warm new home for veterans. Classrooms for our youngest learners. Assistance for victims in their time of need. A place to help teenagers find their way.
Every day, Tempe is working to enhance the lives of children, youth, families, and senior citizens through a broad range of programs and services. Residents are supported by our Human Services Department in many ways: wellness, education, housing, homeless services, crisis intervention, diversion programs, and connections with community non-profit organizations.
Read on to learn how this work is positively impacting the community.
Improvements, programming and security help transform Escalante Park
“What does a park need? It needs people enjoying the park.”
During any given week at Escalante Park, there’s a familiar scene: school kids play soccer, volunteers toil away in the community garden, parents host birthday parties, families gather at the playground. It wasn’t always this way, not for years. But what once was an underutilized park with a history of safety concerns now draws people from across the city for activities, recreation and playtime. Community members and city officials credit a range of activation strategies, including park improvements, programming and added security. Read more.
Homeownership a sweet dream for young family
“We are very blessed to have an affordable home in Tempe.”
Abdi and Mariam Aden’s dream of a new future for their three children has come true. The Adens are the 15th family to help build their own homes at the Tempe Parkview Townhomes, a partnership between the City of Tempe and Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona. When complete, the community will be filled with families who never imagined finding a path to homeownership. Read more.
The first-of-its-kind Tempe Parkview Townhomes community is providing a national model. See more here about the development.
Tempe Works helps those who are homeless chart new course with jobs
“I don’t really focus on the past, just make my own journey."
Ron Ackerman has been rebuilding his broken world after many hard years on the streets. The Navy veteran is charting a new course thanks to a new place to call home and the city’s Tempe Works jobs program, which put him to work at city parks and gave him the boost he needed to plan for the future. Read more.
Labrador pup joins Tempe’s victim services team
“He’s not there to judge or to ask any questions. He’s strictly there to love and listen and be sweet.”
Sully, a loving and smile-inducing Labrador trained to comfort victims of crime, is the newest member of CARE 7’s Victim Services team. The Labrador pup offers comfort to victims of violence as they seek help with things such as orders of protection or retell their harrowing stories to police. Sully does double duty as a calming presence among public safety and victim services employees who regularly face difficult circumstances in the course of their work. Read more.
New road ahead with Tempe’s homeless outreach team
“At some point I came to a fork in the road and I took the wrong fork.”
The City of Tempe has an ambitious goal to end homelessness and that work often begins on a street corner, under a bridge or in a park with the HOPE team. For Paul Van Proyen, chronically homeless and extremely ill after a decade spent outdoors, it began with the team’s Homeless Outreach Specialist Kelly Denman and a question: “How come you never come talk to me?” When Van Proyen finally did, his life took a dramatic turn. Denman helped Van Proyen into housing and onto a new road. Read more...
Preschoolers thrive with city-funded Tempe PRE
“For our family, I really can’t say enough about this program.”
Tempe PRE is boosting kindergarten readiness and preparing kids for long-term school success. Just ask the Garcia and Cook families – their kids were among the 360 students who spelled, counted, created, sang and played their way through the city-funded high-quality preschool program this year. Read more...
Launched in 2017, Tempe PRE is a two-year pilot program designed to increase access to high-quality preschool. Parents say their children are experiencing academic, social and emotional successes. Watch more...
Volunteer tutors changing young lives one book at a time
"What's the next book we're going to read?"
Yet. A small word with big potential. That’s what Rich Favaro tells the young elementary school readers he is tutoring. I don’t know the word “triangular,” they say. Or “camouflage.” You don’t yet, he says. For more than a decade, thousands of young Tempe students have been working with tutors like Favaro toward their reading goals and reaping the benefits of a partnership between the city and the national AARP Foundation Experience Corps program. Read more...
Together Tempe transforms lives across the city
“It was literally a ray of hope.”
A ride to a doctor’s appointment. A bag packed with nutritious food. A hot shower. Small actions, big impact – all supported by the Tempe Community Council. TCC works to address a range of human services needs in the city. A new initiative, Together Tempe, will help even more individuals and families. Give just $1 a month through your utility bill and make a difference in others’ lives. Read more…
Since 1972, Tempe Community Council has played vital role in our community serving youth, seniors, the working poor, people with disabilities, people who are homeless, and domestic violence victims. Watch more…
Free tax preparation program boosts families and economy
“The service was great. It helped us so much.”
When Lua Maloney showed up at Tempe’s free tax preparation site, she expected to walk out with a completed return and another thing checked off her to-do list. She left with a windfall – a $5,000 refund - and the first step toward a new future. She's not alone. Each year, Tempe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax site helps qualifying taxpayers with free tax preparation and financial education services. Read more…
Walking the dementia journey together
“I love being able to call these people my friends.”
For all the unknowns about her father’s dementia journey, Lisa was certain about one thing. Being a caregiver 24/7 was isolating. After five years, she missed socializing. She missed conversation. But when she took a seat at Tempe’s Memory Café, a welcoming place for caregivers and people living with memory loss, all that changed. Read more….
Dementia Friendly Tempe, part of Dementia Friendly America, is the first and only dementia friendly city in Arizona. Watch more….
Turning dream of homeownership into reality
“This isn’t just a house, it’s a home.”
When the first walls went up on the Perez-Albornoz family’s new house in Tempe, it was a new beginning in so many ways. Four years earlier, the family left behind the only home they had known in Venezuela for a different life in the United States. Their journey had not been without struggle and homeownership represented a fresh start. Today, they have a place to dream of a better future through a partnership between the City of Tempe and Habitat for Humanity. Read more. . .
On-scene crisis services for those in need
“One of the things you learn to do is listen a lot.”
When crisis hits, the city’s CARE 7 staff and volunteers are on scene providing comfort to residents in need. For a grieving parent, that might mean contacting a funeral home. For a domestic violence victim, it could mean finding shelter. For a distraught child, it may be offering a hug. The program has grown dramatically in two decades. What started as a small all-volunteer operation with limited hours is now a vital 24/7 city program. Read more. . .
Bob Rose, a retired deputy fire chief turned volunteer, was there at the beginning 20 years ago. Watch his story...
Fighting teenage drug and alcohol use
“I feel like I can make a difference.”
Like many young kids, Alberto Valenzuela wondered about his place in the world. Would he be a successful student? Could he be a leader someday? In the noise of adolescence, would a soft-spoken kid like him ever be heard? He found his voice at school, Tempe City Hall and the Tempe Coalition, helping fight teen drug and alcohol use. Read more.. .
Working to end homelessness and improve lives
“It was pretty eye opening.”
As the sun rose over the city, resident Kevin Brown took to the streets with a singular mission: finding people who had spent the night outside. He was among 75 volunteers taking part in the Point in Time Homeless Count, a Valleywide effort to identify how many people experience homelessness. The count helps determine how much federal funding cities receive to serve people who are homeless. In Tempe’s case, that funding helps drive an ambitious goal to end homelessness. Read more…
Serving military veterans at Valor on Eighth
At the young age of 17, Romaldo “Ro” Gonzalez felt the call to serve his country. He joined the Marine Corps and set off on a six-year adventure traveling the world. Gonzalez’s time in the service was like none other and today the veteran is back among what he thinks of as a “brotherhood and sisterhood” as a resident at Tempe’s Valor on Eighth, an affordable housing community for veterans. Read more...
Valor on Eighth is more than a new home for veterans and their families, it’s a symbol of caring. Watch the grand opening...
Boosting employment, education and homeownership
“The program always gave me something to strive for.”
For Jennifer Johnson, life is a juggling act: working multiple jobs, going to school, raising four kids and handling whatever life throws at her. It hasn’t been easy keeping all the balls in the air. But for the past five years, Jennifer has had a strong partner in the City of Tempe Housing Authority. Through the Family Self-Sufficiency program, she planned for a more stable financial future and a home of her own. Read more…