New homeless shelter in Surprise helps teens and young adults get jobs

Homebase shelter has a computer lab to help with homework, job applications, a playroom and kitchen equipment.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:30 PM MST
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SURPRISE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A brand new shelter opened on Thursday to help kids who are homeless in Surprise. The shelter is part of a program designed to help kids gain life skills and eventually transition into permanent homes. “Homebase’s opening here in Surprise could not come at a more important time,” said Gov. Katie Hobbs.

The new shelter provides more than 40 new beds for transitional teens and young adults. “There’s a lot of homeless youth on the streets right now. Usually the population is underserved and there’s not a lot of housing or shelter or community resources to fill that void, that gap,” said Mike Lafitte, the director of Homebase.

Native American Connections created the shelter. It’s a program that has worked to help get kids off the streets since 1972. But their shelters provide far more than warm meals and a place to sleep. “We can teach independent living skills, provide the skills necessary for these guys to transition from the streets into permanent housing. A big part of this program is making sure youth get the skills to make themselves self-sufficient. We are teaching them how to go to school, get their high school diploma or GED, and teach employment skills,” said Lafitte.

The shelter has a computer lab to help with homework, job applications, a playroom and kitchen equipment. “Across Arizona, we have a deep shortage of affordable housing. This has led to a significant increase in our homeless population. A 500% increase in fact since 2014,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs said she was there as part of her administration’s commitment to affordable housing and care. It’s a problem, she says, that is only getting worse in the state. “In Maricopa county, the unsheltered population now exceeds those in our shelters, with more than 600 youth and children unsheltered. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the plight of youth experiencing homelessness in Arizona,” Hobbs said.