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Center for young homeless adults opens in Phoenix

PHOENIX — Young people who are homeless in the Valley have a new place to go.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held Thursday on the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development’s new Emergency Housing Center. It has taken an old Travelodge Motel near 32nd Street and Van Buren and refurbished it into housing for homeless youth. They can stay there for 90 days while they try to get their life together.

One of those who is moving in is 22-year-old Benjamin Jensen, who has been homeless for the past five years. He said coming to the Tumbleweed Center is a life-changer for him.

“Now, I can go into a room and sleep on a bed that I haven’t slept on for five years,” he said. “I can leave my stuff in room. I don’t have to worry and actually take everything I have on my back.”

Jensen is also excited about other help that Tumbleweed is providing.

“They’re going to give me job leads, and then take me to those jobs,” he said. “They’re going to give me the bus card to get to my appointments. If I have a (job) interview, they’re going to give a bus card to get to that.”

Tumbleweed will also give residents access to education programs while they’re here.

There is one more hurdle to overcome: The hotel has not had electricity in recent months. Electricians are working to wire the building so that the power can be turned as soon as possible. The first residents will move in Friday.