Airport Delays, Coordinated Access, and System Improvement
Traveling across the country from Richmond, Virginia to Oakland, California is always a process. Before I would get to my final destination, the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, I would need to arrive at the airport at 4:30 a.m., make two connecting flights in Atlanta and then Phoenix, and then finally land in Oakland around 3:30 p.m. PST. By the time I got to Phoenix awaiting my last connecting flight at 2:00 p.m. MST, I was hungry, exhausted, and ready to get on with my day.
Airports are access points in a system where individuals move from point A to point B. As I awaited my flight, I thought about how this is similar to individuals and families accessing a homeless services crisis response system looking to move from homelessness to safe and stable permanent housing. Standardized processes are utilized to facilitate these motions, and both systems depend on the availability and coordination of resources and staff to achieve their goals. To get passengers from Phoenix to Oakland, we needed a functional plane and a prepared flight crew. To return individuals and families from shelter to permanent housing, we need affordable and adequate housing to be available and quality case managers to facilitate the process.