Housing the homeless in hotels: Scottsdale city council approves temporary program grant

The Scottsdale City Council has approved a plan to house the homeless at hotel near Pima and Indian Bend Roads.

It's an idea that is praised and criticized. For the past year, the City of Scottsdale has accepted money from the state to allow 10 hotel rooms to be rented out at the Independence 47 hotel to homeless people in the area.

"The need is so great that it has been occupied fully by Scottsdale citizens," said Scottsdale City Councilmember Tom Durham. "No foreign nationals, no one from The Zone. This program has been a success."

The issue has become contentious, with September 19's City Council meeting being the final hurdle this program needs to continue. So far this year, the state has awarded the city almost $1 million dollars to fund the program and the city claims it has an 84% success rate getting local homeless people off the streets and into more permanent housing within 30–120 days at the hotel. 

The city has said it does not take anyone through Title 42 for this program, instead focusing on seniors and families with children who have been displaced due to housing insecurity. There was a city council meeting last week on this topic where we spoke with Mayor David Ortega. On Sept. 19, we also caught up with representative Matt Gress who has opposed this project from the beginning.

"We have paying guests who may be on vacation or on business, checking in to this hotel unaware that it has been partially converted into a homeless shelter. There has been little outreach to the surrounding neighborhoods about this program," said Gress.

Ortega stated, "Scottsdale is moving forward in a positive manner with positive expectations. If someone else said it was a 10% success rate, I would be alarmed, but I am looking forward to more people coming through the door and exiting in a positive manner.



City of Scottsdale defends hotel rooms to address the homeless crisis as residents push back

Hotels for the homeless – that’s the issue at the heart of a contentious public hearing in Scottsdale on Sept. 13. The city's mayor says the program helps veterans and single-parent families.

On Sept. 20, the Phoenix City Council will vote on a plan to re-zone four acres of land near a large homeless encampment known as "The Zone." They recently bought the land located near 15th Avenue and Jackson Street from the state.

The city wants to use the property to house people living in "The Zone."

The cost is over $5 million, but that money is covered by a grant from the Arizona Department of Housing.