CASS Overflow Homeless Shelter Closes In Phoenix

By Katherine Fritcke
Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 2:21pm

Central Arizona Shelter Services has housed its last occupants at its overflow building near 12th Avenue and Madison in Phoenix.

The overflow shelter was never meant to be a permanent solution according to Mark Holleran, CEO of CASS. The building, built in the 1890s, was only intended to be a temporary solution after an excessively hot summer in 2005 resulted in more than 30 deaths.

“That’s what sort of drove the initial response to say, okay, we need to come up with something,” Holleran said. “And we sort of reached out, working with some of our partners, and opened up a very temporary solution. And that first night we have over 100 people.”

Maricopa County has previously cited multiple health violations, prompting the closure.

Holleran said they are now expecting an influx of individuals looking for shelter at their main campus.

“We’re going to have somewhere, we estimate between 400-500 additional individuals that we’ve got to find a better solution for them,” he said.

As Holleran additionally said, while the shelter was a good alternative for homeless, it was never meant to resolve the homelessness problem.

“Building more shelters, ultimately is not the solution," hollaran said. "Housing, affordable and accessible housing is what ends people homelessness. And hopefully the conversation will get to that particular area."

While the overflow building is now closed, the adjacent parking lot will remain open until May 15.


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