The city of Tempe is giving back to those in need with additional shelter and housing options.
The city announced Tuesday that it had purchased a 40-room motel and added 60 new shelter beds to assist those struggling with homelessness. The shelter beds were funded through two nonprofit grants, according to a news release. The action will provide stability for those in need as they work with Human Services staff to find more permanent housing solutions.
"I’m proud of our City Council’s unanimous decision to support these two critical efforts for individuals and families in our community,” said Mayor Corey Woods in a prepared statement. “By working with nonprofit partners to expand shelter space and purchasing a motel for temporary housing, we are not only providing significantly more safe spaces for people in need but also creating a truly viable path toward ending homelessness.”
This expansion is part of the Tempe City Council's broader efforts to reduce the negative impacts of homelessness in city parks and ensure greater community safety and wellness. The initative involves multiple city departments and nonprofit partners.
There were approximately 396 unsheltered people on the streets of Tempe on the night of Jan. 27, 2020, according to the 2020 Point-in-Time Homeless Count conducted annually by the Maricopa Association of Governments. That's up from the 202 recorded in the city in 2017.
The city council approved just last week the purchase of the Rodeway Inn at 201 E. Apache Boulevard to add 40 temporary transitional housing units. The property was purchased by the city for $3.3 million using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The hotel will open in December following a remodel.
The property will eventually be developed for permanent affordable multi-family housing in alignment with the city's Affordable Housing Strategy and Hometown for All initiative.
Also last week, the city council approved $450,000 in nonprofit grants to expand emergency shelter beds. The first grant to Tempe Community Action gency for $281,980 will fund 30 shelter beds for adults, as well as case management and housing navigation assistance. The second grant to A New Leaf for $168,020 will be used to transport people directly to the East Valley Men's Center in Mesa, where they can receive case management, behavioral health services and access to job and housing supports. Tempe's Human Services outreach teams will assist with transportation.
Combined, the two grants will add 62 shelter beds in Tempe. As people transition into more permanent housing, the nonprofits can potentially serve more than 100 people.
The Tempe Community Council awarded the grants. Increasing shelter beds will reduce the numbers of unsheltered people throughout the city and provide a safe environment where people can connect with housing and social services.