Bill To Fund Senior Shelter Passes Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee
More and more seniors, people 55 and older, are becoming homeless. And it’s not just an Arizona problem. It’s happening across the country. On Tuesday, a bipartisan bill that would fund a new emergency shelter for this growing population survived a big hurdle.
Lisa Glow is the CEO of CASS, an emergency shelter in downtown Phoenix. She was at the Arizona Capitol to testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee about a bill that could help homeless seniors. Glow said early one in three seniors nationwide are experiencing homelessness and the vast majority of them are becoming homeless for the first time.
"If they had to sleep on the street, they’re terrified," she said. "And there just grateful to finally get a bed."
But Glow said seniors have a lot of unique needs.
"There are people who have mental health issues, who have dementia who are elderly and very high percentage who have physical disabilities," she said.
So creating a space where seniors can be properly cared for is critical, said Dana Marie Kennedy, the state director for AARP Arizona.
"We’re becoming an aging nation" she said. "The next 10 years, one in five people are going to be 65 and older and we have got to invest now."
Senate Bill 1283 passed the Appropriations Committee unanimously. It now goes to the rules committee.