New Shelter Opens in Phoenix Offering Heat Relief and Services for 200 People Experiencing Homelessness
May 20, 2022 - 06:38 AM
The City of Phoenix and Maricopa County partnered to open a facility in central Phoenix that will provide day and nighttime relief from the summer heat for 200 people experiencing homelessness.
“Arizona’s summer heat can be deadly. We need to ensure that everyone, especially our most vulnerable residents, has a safe place to stay cool during our hottest months,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This shelter is just one part of the City of Phoenix’s strong commitment to leading with services and connecting those who are unsheltered with the appropriate resources.”
The facility, owned by the City of Phoenix, is located near 28th and Washington Streets. The shelter is a closed campus, meaning there are no walk-up services and clients need to be referred to the facility by a caseworker. One unique aspect of this project is it prioritizes serving people experiencing homelessness in the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s really tough to have a conversation of bringing a shelter to a community, but I understood the need in our city and in my district and the importance of it,” District 8 Councilmember Carlos Garcia said. “There had to be a process to talk to the folks around here and make sure that this became an asset for the community around this shelter. This shelter is not only adding bed space, but it is also making sure that it has the resources wrapped around people sleeping here. The services provided will hopefully set them on a path to be permanently housed. I’m grateful for our partnership with the neighborhood, City staff, St. Vincent de Paul, and Maricopa County. I know that we are all invested in this being a successful model that can be replicated.”
People staying at the facility will have dedicated beds to sleep in, access to three meals each day, showers, and a secure place to store their belongings. Pets are also welcome. St. Vincent de Paul will operate the center and provide comprehensive case management services to each resident. Staff will be able to assist individuals with obtaining identification, accessing medical and financial services and connecting to employment and housing opportunities.
“It’s a great privilege and responsibility to be one of the lead partners on this pilot program,” said Jessica Berg, Saint Vincent de Paul Chief Program Officer. “We like to think that City and County chose SVdP for not only our proven track record of running a successful shelter, but also for our culture of dignified service, kindness and working collaboratively with our neighbors. Together, we will save lives this summer, get more people into housing, and build a better community for all of us.”
The City and the County divided funding for the project through American Rescue Plan Act funds. The City of Phoenix contributed $2.6 million, and the County contributed more than $2 million.
“With homelessness increasing across the region, we need to address both the immediate and long-term needs of individuals and communities. This partnership achieves that,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, Supervisor for District 3. “First, it provides shelter that will literally save lives during the intense summer heat. Second, it connects people experiencing homelessness to resources that can help them find jobs and permanent housing.”
The heat relief location will be open and operating through this joint funding model through October 31, 2022, with the goal of the City continuing year-round operations through 2024.