Rachel Barber, Creative Writing (MFA)

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Paul Lisicky

Zoom Link coming soon.

This project analyzes segregation and homelessness in the downtown area in Phoenix, Arizona. Through a combination of research and personal narrative, I explore the following questions: 1) How did Phoenix become segregated? 2) How is segregation still enforced today? 3) What is the impact of historical modes of segregation on the homeless services system in modern-day Phoenix? Formatted as a creative nonfiction essay, my project provides an overview of modern racial disparities in the Phoenix homeless services system and the laws and policies that created those disparities. These policies include, but are not limited to redlining, industrial zoning, and modern-day housing prioritization policies. Because I worked in a shelter in Phoenix for several years, I use personal narrative from my work environment to support data and government documents demonstrating the racial bias of housing policy. Although Phoenix is the focus of my writing, the essay incorporates personal narrative and facts related to Newburgh, New York and New Canaan, Connecticut, areas that were also impacted by racially biased zoning policies. My presentation contains both policy and personal narrative highlights from this essay.