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Former Phoenix hotel to be shelter for older homeless people

October 30, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Phoenix hotel will be used as a shelter for older homeless people.

The Arizona Department of Housing provided $7.5 million to purchase the former Phoenix Inn and the City Council approved spending an additional $4 million to rehabilitate the property near Interstate 17 and Northern Avenue to serve people 55 and older.

Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) will operate the facility, which will have up to 170 beds in 130 rooms aimed at providing temporary shelter to individuals for up to 90 days.

CASS officials said homeless people ages 55 and older constitute about a third of those currently served at the agency’s downtown shelter.

Having a shelter specifically for older people will help because different age groups face different problems, officials said.

“You’ve got Social Security, you’ve got health care problems,” said Craig Tribken, CASS director of business development.

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CASS hopes to open the facility by next summer and have it serve as a model for more shelters across metro Phoenix, CEO Lisa Glow said.

A temporary shelter for older homeless people set up at a north Phoenix hotel had higher rates of people leaving for permanent housing than the main downtown shelter, Glow said.

“This is what we need to do. Get (seniors) out of the mass shelters and get them into more dignified spaces,” Glow said.

City Council member Betty Guardado, who represents the area, said CASS’s transparency helped the neighborhood get on board with the project and trust that it would benefit the area.