Phoenix to add 769 beds for emergency shelters and transitional housing

By Christina Estes
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 5:36pm
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2022 - 12:28pm

cots in a room
St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix
The city-owned Washington Street shelter has 200 beds and is operated by St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix.

Over the next two years, Phoenix plans to add 769 beds to emergency shelters and temporary housing facilities. That’s in addition to 475 beds added this year.

Rather than focusing solely on nonprofits by giving them money, Phoenix has started opening its own shelters and hiring experts to run them.

Rachel Milne, the city’s homeless solutions director, says all new city-owned shelters will include extensive outreach to nearby neighbors and businesses, along with, “closed campuses with no walk-up services, street outreach teams that will transport new clients on a referral basis only and small, regionalized shelters with 200 max in congregate settings.”

Phoenix is in the process of hiring three employees to work specifically with neighborhoods most impacted by homelessness.

“The liaisons will work with people experiencing homelessness, homeless service providers, businesses, neighborhood leaders and other city departments to address areas that have an overrepresentation of encampments or unsheltered individuals,” Milne told a city subcommittee.

Additional shelter beds approved by the City Council in 2022 include:

  • Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) - Single Adult Shelter — 175 additional units 
  • Human Services Campus - Respiro — 100 new shelter units
  • Washington Relief Shelter - 200 new units 

Upcoming shelter and transitional housing beds in 2023-24 include:

  • I-HELP — 10 
  • Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) – The Haven — 170 
  • Community Bridges, Inc. (CBI) – North Mountain Healing Center — 100
  •  St. Vincent de Paul – Ozanam Manor II — 100
  •  Community Bridges, Inc. (CBI) – Rio Fresco Hotel/Motel Conversion —117
  •  United Methodist Outreach Ministries (UMOM) – New Day Center, Family Shelter — 20 (80 beds) 
  •  Salvation Army – Family Shelter —12 (60 beds) 
  • Sprung Structure — 240

In September, the council approved a $931,000 contract with Lutheran Social Services to oversee a program where churches will provide emergency shelters. The program is expected to be in place early in 2023.

Earlier this year, the city council approved a $9 million contract with Mercy Care to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for residents who are uninsured or underinsured, with an emphasis on those experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. 

Councilmember Carlos Garcia acknowledged the city’s investments into homeless services, which has been overwhelmingly funded using federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funds.

“I think it’s going to be important for us moving forward to make sure that we solidify a source of funding for this work going forward,” he said.

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