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Scottsdale City Council considers measure to better serve residents, those experiencing homelessness

photo of mayor of Scottsdale City Council
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Bridge to housing, 28 housing units under consideration at Scottsdale City Council
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale City Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 19 regular meeting will consider staff recommendations to provide temporary bridge housing for those in need, as well as construction of up to 28 affordable housing units at the Paiute Neighborhood Center.

Scottsdale City Council anticipated discussion of the bridge housing program is the final step in accepting state grant funding to continue providing temporary lodging — 30 to 120 days — for people who have been displaced from their homes in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Human Services has administered this bridge housing program at its current location for one year, leasing a total of 10 rooms at a local hotel to provide safe and stable temporary lodging for eligible participants: seniors over age 62 and families with minor children who have been displaced from their Scottsdale homes.

The items before Scottsdale City Council action continues the existing program — and city officials tell the Arizona Digital Free Press — at its current the program will not take U.S. immigration referrals through Title 42.

City officials report participants are evaluated to ensure the individual needs and circumstances are a match for Scottsdale’s Bridge Housing Program. Each person receives ongoing support from professionals specializing in providing a full range of support and services for people in need, along with Scottsdale Human Services social workers.

Program participants are required to work with a caseworker to become self-sufficient and secure stable housing. They are provided with assistance navigating through programs and services, searching for employment, applying for housing vouchers and searching and applying for affordable rental units.

Persons who are considered chronically homeless (means that a person has been homeless for more than a year), or repeatedly in and out of homelessness, with disabling conditions such as serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability are not eligible for Scottsdale’s Bridge Housing Program.

To date, 70% of participants have secured housing within 30 to 90 days. Last year, this program assisted 120 individuals in Scottsdale – a number the city expects to duplicate in 2023.

It is views like this one that are concerning residents, elected leaders and business leaders in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale City Council considers measure to better serve residents, those experiencing homelessness

Scottsdale’s Human Services staff are seeing an increasing number of seniors and families who are being displaced from their homes due to rising rents and a decreasing number of affordable rents and mortgages for all.

The city’s Housing Choice Voucher Program assists eligible families by subsidizing a portion of their rent, but there is far more need than housing units available. Scottsdale’s program has 124 seniors and 456 disabled families on the on the program waitlist.

Scottsdale also operates three senior affordable housing properties with 438 people on the waitlist. Scottsdale assisted 438 seniors with rent and eviction prevention in the last 12 months, and provided six veterans, referred by the VA, with supportive housing vouchers. 760 unhoused individuals are also on a waitlist for affordable housing in Scottsdale.

A Scottsdale proposal to build more affordable housing units

The Scottsdale Human Services Department proposes to leverage a combination of funding sources to build up to 28 affordable housing units at the city’s Paiute Neighborhood Center, which is at 65th Street and Osborn Road.

The Residence at Paiute would comprise a combination of studio and two-bedroom units provided at low or no-cost to seniors and persons with disabilities, with a number of units dedicated to case-managed temporary bridge housing for people working toward independent stable housing in Scottsdale.

Construction cost is estimated at $15.7 million, funded with $7.8 million in federal money administered by Maricopa County and $7.9 million of Scottsdale general fund dollars.

Preliminary public meetings about the Residence at Paiute project have taken place. If the City Council directs staff to move forward with the concept, additional public outreach will occur in the spring and summer of 2024, with construction estimated to occur in 2025-26.

The Residence at Paiute is separate from another project that would replace aging structures at the Paiute Neighborhood Center with a new building, creating a modern facility from which a variety of community and family assistance programs are provided.

The Paiute Neighborhood Center renovation is a city bond-funded project approved by the voters in 2019; additional funding is proposed from the city’s general fund to cover inflationary costs.

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