Compassion or an Invitation to Danger? Scottsdale Opens Its Doors to the Homeless

Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

You could say many things about Scottsdale; you could say that it’s a great tourist destination, you could say that the weather is great, you could even say it’s snobby (although we tend to disagree). But one word that you rarely hear associated with Scottsdale is compassionate.

Does that mean that Scottsdale is uncompassionate? Probably not, but simply more a result of the fact that it is not a front-of-mind adjective for our city. That concept will now be put to the test in a very real way however as a result of a recent development; Scottsdale will now be the home of 120 people who were recently homeless or undocumented migrants.

So what should we think about this? So far, we should probably think positively about it.

The people to be helped with this leg of the program are reportedly to be elderly women. While there are myriad issues surrounding most cases of homelessness, including drugs, violence and quality of life issues, those are often relegated to those who are younger. Presumably, older women who are homeless will bring with them few of these issues.

Moreover, we shouldn’t forget just how much rent has spiked since the pandemic began. While some areas of the country have had homelessness issues that were largely fueled from illicit drug use (and while that certainly plays a role in our homelessness issue), there is a very real dynamic where some people were rent increased into homelessness, a dynamic that we should feel compassion and empathy towards.

And lastly, there is the financial aspect of it. Between national and state money, around $900,000 will go towards housing and support services for the need. While not a huge largess with an excess that can be applied elsewhere, at least this is not a financial burden that we would be carrying on our own.

Does this give us some reason for pause? Yes, it is certainly a departure from the typical reputation that Scottsdale has maintained. But considering the people that we will be housing, it is not unreasonable to believe that they will probably go about their new lives relatively quietly and in an undisruptive manner, and if they are able to use this as a stepping stone towards a more productive life, it may benefit all of us going forward. We certainly hope so at least.