A bill in the Arizona State Legislation is earmarking some $5 million to build an emergency shelter geared especially for people who are 55 years of age or older.
The money will come from the state’s general fund and is designed to address the issue of the increasing number of homeless seniors living in metropolitan Phoenix.
The new shelter would be built in the West Valley, a suburb that has seen explosive growth in recent years with more than 1.5 million people currently calling the area home.
Of that figure, a smaller number is made up of seniors, a demographic that has seen a nearly 40 percent increase just since 2017.
The wave of new seniors coming into Arizona, some of whom are also disabled, has been referred to as a “silver tsunami.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 1283, would pay for the property and construction of a shelter housing around 200 beds. Earlier reports indicated that the shelter would also provide attention to the medical needs of the seniors.
Senator David Livingston, the main sponsor behind the legislation, told radio station KJZZ in Phoenix that the project will comprise what he called “a new model,” adding that “it’s a big difference if somebody who’s 55 or 65 and they’re homeless, versus somebody who’s 25. There are different needs.”
By Garry Boulard
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