Homeless seniors in Phoenix now have a dedicated temporary shelter geared toward their needs

Published: Monday, October 23, 2023 - 3:04pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2023 - 3:49pm
Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Starting Wednesday, Oct. 25, 60 homeless seniors will begin moving into a Phoenix temporary shelter geared to meet their needs. These individuals ages 55 and older will go from a mass shelter to having their own room. But deciding who gets to go is another story. 

Haven, a permanent, 170-bed shelter for older adults was supposed to open this summer, but is now slated to open in the spring. 

In the meantime, Central Arizona Shelter Services is opening a temporary space for this population. COO Phillip Scharf says they started with a list of 200 older adults and went from there. 

"It was a mix of, what do we know about them? How long have they been staying here? What was their actual ability to care for themselves and access the resources necessary?"

"And then the final thing was, we only have 30 rooms on the first floor. And so then the cutoff really became ambulatory," he said. The temporary shelter doesn’t have an elevator.

Scharf says some older adults chose to stay at CASS because it was closer to their health care or even where they worked.

At the end of the day, he says, it came down to whether the move would make the person's life better or worse. 

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