Temporary emergency shelter for homeless adults over 55 opens its doors in Phoenix

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 - 9:23am
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 - 10:03am

Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Michael Genaldi and Lisa Glow
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Resident Michael Genaldi and CASS CEO Lisa Glow outside Haven on McDowell.

On Oct. 25, a new temporary emergency opened its doors for homeless senior citizens in Phoenix. The next morning, residents were still arriving and getting settled.

Michael Genaldi, 58, waited for a car to take him to a pharmacy.

“We're all elderly. This is what they call a retirement motel for us. So anybody 55 and older,” he said.

Genaldi stood outside of what is being called the Haven on McDowell. It’s a temporary emergency shelter for 60 older adults. 

“This place is amazing! Oh, my own room, everything is fantastic,” he said

Genaldi had been at CASS, the county’s largest shelter, following a motorcycle accident and job loss. Now he’s dealing with a cancer diagnosis. 

Haven on McDowell senior emergency shelter room
Tim Agne/KJZZ
One of the available rooms at Haven on McDowell

“And so this is a much better place for him than being with 440 other people in a mass shelter,” he said.

Lisa Glow is the CEO of CASS. She said for clients like Genaldi, a place like this makes sense. That’s especially true for those with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. But even this Haven may not be sufficient for those clients, she said. 

“So, we're trying to find a more appropriate placement for them,” Glow said. “There are dementia care facilities, really hard to get our folks into that some of them are too costly. We have people who can't take care of some of their basic needs who are here, which is why we need to get those folks into nursing homes.”

In the meantime, she said moving them to a place where they have their own room is a better solution than staying with several hundred people.

Michael Genaldi
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Michael Genaldi moved into Haven on McDowell in October. He had been at CASS, Maricopa County’s largest shelter, following a motorcycle accident and job loss. Now, he’s dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

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