Area Agency On Aging Purchases Phoenix Building To Save Justa Center
The Area Agency on Aging has purchased a building that houses a partner group catering to homeless seniors to ensure the center remained open.
The Justa Center in downtown Phoenix provides critical services for homeless seniors. But it was at risk of closing, due to financial problems.
The Area Agency on Aging has purchased the center near 11th Avenue and Jefferson Street, as well as an adjacent lot, to ensure it can remain open.
Wendy Johnson is with the Justa Center. She said they hope to add a new-skills lab to help seniors adapt to the digital age.
“They need computer skills, they need to know how to navigate websites, to make doctor’s appointments, to update their Social Security address to renew their Arizona ID, how to get to their doctor’s appointment, how to schedule a ride,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the center also wants to help homeless seniors with interview skills to help them get jobs and re-enter society.
She said, “This year we have served 1,230 distinct individuals, of them, 939 visited the center for the first time this year, 687 of them we’re first time guest, never been here before.”
Johnson says the center is already at capacity and the number of homeless seniors is increasing rapidly. She said they hope to expand the center, allowing them to provide more services and help more seniors.
The Area Agency on Aging has been helping the Justa Center for several years by providing meals and counseling with social workers to homeless elders.
"When we found out in August that the building was for sale and that they couldn’t afford to buy the building themselves, if the building got sold to some commercial property they would be homeless," said Mary Lynn Kasunic, president of the Area Agency on Aging.
Kasunic says that the Agency has funds to refresh the building by painting it, putting new tiles down and doing any necessary repairs.