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Shelter sees increase in families looking for place to stay

Homeless tents in Phoenix
Posted at 2:22 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 22:45:16-04

PHOENIX — As the number of people filing for unemployment rises, so does the amount of families needing a place to stay.

Yahnae Ferguson has been living at UMOM New Day Center's emergency shelter for the past two months.

"I've been currently homeless for three years, with three children," she said.

She says with the center's help, she got a job in food service and was finally getting back on her feet. But everything changed three weeks ago.

"I was just laid off about three weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic," Ferguson said. "So it's actually been quite hard and I was doing quite well. I was on my way to getting my own apartment. But since everything's happened that put me to a stop."

The shelter says they're hearing more and more stories like that from their clients. They're also seeing an influx of families coming to them for a place to stay.

CEO of UMOM New Day Centers Darlene Newsom says they've seen a 30% increase in families looking for a place to stay, that's about 68 extra families on their waiting list.

"Some are sleeping in cars, some are just walking some are sleeping in parks," Newsom said.

Newsom says that's why they've created 25 extra rooms in their shelter. While there's currently a 12 week waiting list, she says they can still provide families with resources for things like finding a job, child care and how to find affordable housing.

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