Phoenix Elementary School District Approves Lease For Asylum Welcome Center

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 6:39am
Updated: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 12:51pm

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Ann Ott School migrant shelter Phoenix
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Ann Ott School near 12th and Durango streets in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Elementary School District governing board has given approval for a New York-based nonprofit agency to lease one of its buildings for humanitarian aid.

The Ann Ott School in Phoenix, which closed in 2007 will be used as temporary housing for asylum seekers.

Aaron Rippenkroeger is the executive director for the International Rescue Committee in Arizona.

He says the people that will stay in the facility are coming from very dangerous situations typically in South America.

“Helping them transit through Phoenix to wherever they’re going is an important step in allowing them to be able to follow the legal process here for asylum,” he said.

The IRC is leasing the building for $500 a month. The initial three-month lease can be renewed monthly. The non-profit is currently renovating the building to accommodate a little more than 80 people.

The asylum seekers are expected to stay in the former school from 24 to 48 hours at a time.

Rosanna Hidalgo is the Chief Operations Officer for the school district and grew up near the facility, located on 12th street south of Buckeye Road.

“The welcome center would be in a central location," Hidalgo said. "With easy access for the buses to come to and near the Greyhound bus station, it just seemed ideal.”

KJZZ’s Jimmy Jenkins attended the board meeting for the Phoenix Elementary School District Thursday night and joined The Show to talk about it.

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