PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix City Council has approved around $33 million in federal CARES Act funding be spent to combat homelessness in the city.
"We will be feeling the effects of the pandemic for quite some time, and few will suffer more than people experiencing homelessness," said Mayor Kate Gallego. "These additional monies, invested with the city's human services partners, will go a long way toward easing that pain."
Around $1.6 million of the funds will be going to the Human Services Campus downtown, and $2.4 million will go to Central Arizona Shelter Services, or CASS.
"It's a huge help in the moment," said Human Services Campus Executive Director Amy Schwabenlender. "For years, we've been turning away 400 to 500 people a month."
But with the money and a recent zoning approval by Phoenix City Council, they will be expanding the number of beds at CASS.
"So it will literally mean saving people's lives, bringing people indoors," Schwabenlender said.
CASS will be adding 275 beds to the facility, with staff hoping to have 175 of them in place by June in time for the summer heat.
According to the Mayor's office, the money will also be used to expand the city's Rapid Rehousing programs, operating costs at the new U.S. Vets Shelter, plus $14 million will go toward acquiring or improving up to four shelters.
"I call on Valley cities, Maricopa County and the state to step up and ensure the providers in their areas have the capital resources they need to care for those who are unsheltered, and to do so close to where these individuals and families are experiencing homelessness," Mayor Gallego said.