United Way works to find permanent homes for the homeless

The United Way is partnering with other non-profit agencies to provide permanent housing to the homeless in the valley.

"I feel good, I feel good, I feel empowered like things are going to turn around for me," Kevin Anderson said.

Today was a good day for Kevin Anderson as he received his Arizona identification and filled out paperwork to get a copy of his Illinois state birth certificate. Anderson moved to Arizona one year ago and says the last 12 months were difficult.

"I lost my mother in 2013 and I was dealing with some deep depression and I'll be honest with you, I started using drugs heavily, I lost everything that I had, he said.

United Way Vice President of Community Impact Amy Schwabenlenzer says nearly 100 clients of St. Vincent De Paul and the Human Services campus in Phoenix have started the process of getting permanent housing for the homeless.

"We're really focused on using the housing-first philosophy, which is about meeting people where they are," she said. "To sign a lease today, you have to prove who you are to have Arizona state ID you have to have a birth certificate. Today is really about focusing on those items that will help people go apartment shopping, find a home, sign a lease (and) end homelessness."

St. Vincent De Paul, for example, houses 200 people a night in the overflow shelter. The hope is to get as many as possible in their own homes.

"I can get why people give up, but you can't give up," Anderson said.

Anderson is well on his way and is appreciative he received the help he needed.

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