Today, The Thunderbirds checked in with Darlene Newsom, CEO of UMOM, to discuss the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, communicate immediate essential needs and spread their messages to the local communities they serve, rally support and secure vital resources so they may continue to help as much as they can.
Since its inception in 1964, UMOM has been an innovative provider of shelter, housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. UMOM provides safe shelter and supportive services for hundreds of families across the Valley by providing access to affordable housing and special Program Centers for its residents.
Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – has been a long-time supporter of UMOM, providing monetary funds, clothing donations and other basic necessities to combat the effects of homelessness.
“It’s not business as usual,” said Newsom. “We are an essential service declared by the Governor, so we will be here no matter what. This last week, our wait list went up by 30 percent, so we have 180 families on our wait list. I feel it’s our responsibility to be able to serve those families, so we are opening up 20 more rooms here on the main campus for homeless families.”
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have led to new challenges UMOM most overcome to continue to help the community.
“[Because of the pandemic] many of our clients have been laid off of their jobs in hospitality and food service,” said Newsom. “We know our clients are going to stay longer. Our average length of stay is usually around 85 days. Families [at UMOM] can stay up to 120 days, but we know families will need to be here longer than that.”
How can the community help UMOM?
“We had a big push the last two weeks for supplies, diapers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, board games, books for our children and we still need some of those items,” said Newsom. “We have items listed on our website, and now we have an Amazon account which is a really good way to donate.”
Visit umom.org/support-our-work/ to support and donate to UMOM and help them accomplish their mission to end homelessness.
UMOM New Day Centers
3333 E. Van Buren St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007