Construction begins on hotel turned low-income housing for homeless in Phoenix

Construction began Monday, May 15 on a Phoenix hotel being converted into low-income housing for the homeless.

Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) is using a $4 million grant from the city of Phoenix to renovate the building for 170 people 55 years and older, who otherwise, would be roaming the streets or stuck in overcrowded shelters.

"We've had individuals up to 93 years old staying with us in a congregate shelter," said Phillip Scharf, Chief Operating Officer of CASS. "So to see people the age of my grandparents, it's unbelievable to know they are staying in such an awful scenario."

The converted hotel is being called "The Haven" and is set to have 40 rooms ready by this summer. The rest are expected to be done by next spring.

"For seniors, one of the largest difficulties is that they are on fixed incomes," Scharf said.


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"Seniors to me are very important. My mom is a senior and I know if she wasn't living with me, she probably wouldn't be able to afford rent," Councilwoman Betty Guardado said.

Many of the new senior residents will come from "The Zone," a homeless encampment in downtown Phoenix between 7th and 16th avenues. The court recently ordered the city to keep the area free of homeless and clean-ups have already begun.

"So we can get more people out of ‘The Zone,’ out of the heat, and so the more properties we have the better it is for everyone, and the fewer people sleeping on the streets at night," Scharf said.

The housing will be temporary, and they will provide case managers.

The goal is to help these people get back on their feet and have a fresh start.

everyday i get to go to work trying to provide solutions for one of the hardest problems there is to know if we are successful people are going to be happier, healthier and better off