During COVID-19 the needs of Phoenix’s vulnerable populations have been put into even greater focus. Those that were vulnerable before COVID, especially individuals experiencing homelessness, are at a greater risk for virus transmission due to issues like sanitation and shelter. Phoenix City Council recently unanimously approved nearly $27 million dollars to ensure greater protections are in place for this community. Recently, the city contracted with three local agencies to help get these dollars to the people who need them most.
CASS, the largest provider of beds at the downtown Human Services Campus, will be expanding their partnership with the city to help provide 100 hotel rooms for vulnerable seniors. Seniors, who already face increased health issues due to Arizona’s summer temperatures, will be offered shelter in a local hotel to ensure they can safely and comfortably physically distance during COVID. Keeping this population protected also helps lower the risk for the community at large and is an important step toward minimizing viral spread.
“With the city of Phoenix, we are working urgently to keep people safe, and to do all we can to make sure we don’t have a COVID-19 outbreak in the homeless community, which could create a great risk of community spread,” says Lisa Glow, CEO of CASS.
The city also expanded their partnerships with Native American Connections, Inc. and UMOM to provide more resources for shelter and wraparound services during COVID-19.
“As the city of Phoenix responds to COVID-19, one of our biggest and earliest investments has been in providing support to people experiencing homelessness,” says Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “By utilizing federal relief funds to help our most vulnerable community members we establish investments toward our community’s long-term success that will far outlast this virus. The Phoenix City Council and I are grateful to our nonprofit partners who are working with us to fight homelessness.”