Phoenix apartments now provide long-term housing for homeless

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Camelback Pointe is a new housing option for people with little or no ncome. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Camelback Pointe is a new housing option for people with little or no ncome. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
The apartment style living has space for 54 residents. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) The apartment style living has space for 54 residents. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Housing options for homeless persons is limited. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Housing options for homeless persons is limited. 15 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

More than 22,000 people in Maricopa County are homeless, according to data from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. On any given night in January, more than 4,000 homeless people are using shelters in Phoenix. More than 1,600 sleep on the streets.

"It’s very rare for any of us who are commuting to and from work every day, to drive by any intersection and not see someone on the corner panhandling," said Stefanie Smith, Camelback Pointe housing supervisor.

Thanks to nonprofits Native American Connections and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, some of those less fortunate now have a real home.

"Not only do we want to house somebody, but we really want to give them an opportunity to reconnect to the community," said Diana Yazzie Devine, the CEO of Native American Connections.

Camelback Pointe just opened two months ago at 16th Avenue and Camelback Road and provides more than 50 living spaces, complete with the comforts of a small apartment -- from a bed, bathroom, tables and chairs, to a kitchen with energy-efficient appliances and a stocked pantry. There are also computer and TV rooms, a community garden, patio, grills, a gym and a laundry room.

"Even if someone doesn’t have income, we still want them to be able to do laundry and have clean clothes when they go out and they’re looking for jobs or applying for benefits and it helps a person's self-esteem when they feel good about themselves and they look good," said Smith.

From here, residents are provided with mental health services, medical treatments and life-skills classes.

Camelback Pointe is not a shelter, but rather a permanent "supportive housing" solution for the "chronically homeless." 

More than 20 units are reserved for households with incomes below the 40 percent Area Median Income; another 26 are reserved for households with incomes below 50 percent of the AMI.

"The households will pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent and utilities as there is long-term assistance," according to the Arizona Department of Housing.

"Maybe when they were homeless on the streets, there was a big disconnect, and the families maybe had separated from them, and so we do see people rebuilding their family connections, with their parents or with their sisters and brothers," said Yazzie Devine.

While a small dent in a much larger scale problem, developers believe Camelback Pointe is a step in the right direction, giving people the cost-effective support they need to live independently. 

This complex took $13 million to build. According to Yazzie Devine, the main source of funding was from the low-income housing tax-credit program.

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