PHOENIX — We're seeing an increase in people without a place to call home. A major factor behind that: rising housing and rental prices.
To keep up with the demand, the old Phoenix Inn will soon be renovated into a new shelter for older adults.
Fifty-six-year-old Sheryl Sanders says she's been without a home for years, never seeking shelter because of different concerns including her age and health.
"I'm right there on the side because I don't get along in the shelter," says Sheryl Sanders, who is experiencing homelessness.
Now, a new shelter specifically for seniors is coming to Central Phoenix. The Arizona Department of Housing will be funding the purchase of the old Phoenix Inn, near I-17 and Northern Avenue. The City of Phoenix will be footing the bill for renovations. Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) will be housing those 55 and up in the 130-unit property. They say more people are finding themselves in need and, for many, it's the first time ever.
"Some of that, we think, is eviction and COVID-related things. Probably, more importantly, though, is economy and general housing prices," says Craig Tribken, the director of business development for CASS.
CASS says those 55 and older make up one-third of those they currently serve in the downtown shelter. They believe putting them among their peers will help since different age groups face different problems.
"You've got social security, you've got healthcare problems. Even... where do you go to a doctor? Where do you go to a clinic? Even simple questions like that aren't easy," says Tribken.
CASS actually tried this concept out earlier this year, calling it Project Haven. It proved to be successful.
"We think smaller facilities for specialized populations is the future of what we're doing," says Tribken.
CASS says the community surrounding the shelter is a big support in that effort.
Those 55 and up who are interested in the new shelter must go through a screening process. It is expected to be open by next summer.