Groups Hope To Open Migrant Shelter In Phoenix Next Week

By Matthew Casey
Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 3:59pm
Updated: Friday, July 26, 2019 - 11:07am

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Beth Strano
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Beth Strano, asylum seeker and families coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix, gives a tour of the Ann Ott School that a coalitionof aid groups hopes to soon open as shelter for migrant families dropped off by federal authorities.

The group leading an effort to open an overnight shelter for asylum-seeking families dropped off by immigration authorities hopes to start taking people in next week.

The International Rescue Committee in Phoenix gave a tour of the Ann Ott School on Wednesday. The IRC is part of a coalition working to transform the building into a shelter.

There’s space near the front entrance for migrant families to wait for medical checkups. Migrants can visit a room to get clothing, hygiene items and toys. And the cafeteria has enough room for about 80 people.

“Right away, as soon as we get our certificate of occupancy, we’re going to have families in this space,” said Beth Strano, asylum seeker and families coordinator for the IRC.

The cafeteria, which has a stage on one end, will be used for multiple purposes, Strano said. Hot food will be served, and donated cots will be moved in for people to sleep at night.

“We’ve got (a) comfortable seating area. (There’s) a kids’ area for the children to play while parents are talking to our shelter specialists,” Strano said.

The coalition’s plan is to open the shelter in phases, Strano said. The goal is to finish the last phase by the end of summer, and raise shelter capacity to roughly 275.

“We are still not operating on any government funding right now. There is no city, county, state or federal grants for this kind of work. We are working on private donorship,” she said.

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