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New Phoenix facility wants to help homeless men find housing

(KTAR Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — Community Bridges has opened a newly renovated facility in Phoenix that includes 34 beds within its 3,600-square-foot transitional shelter.

The nonprofit organization worked with Mercy Care, the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the city of Phoenix to create the shelter, dubbed “The Bridge.”

The collaboration aims to reduce the length of time it takes for men to transition from homelessness to permanent housing once they have been referred for housing.

“There still is a process in order for them to get through a briefing, locating a good apartment, getting their IDs – all of those things that take them from the streets into their apartment,” said Elizabeth Dacosta, Community Bridges housing and community integration director.

“That length of time can go anywhere from 30 to 60 days.”

The Bridge is located at Van Buren and 28th streets next door to Community Bridges Central City Addiction and Recovery Center.

“The Bridge will serve as Maricopa County’s first temporary housing facility for general mental health and substance-using individuals,” said Blythe Fitzharris, Mercy Care chief clinical officer. “This will provide a safe place for them to stay while looking for permanent housing options.”

A program manager and seven other full-time navigators will staff The Bridge and work with applicants to implement a transition strategy to permanent housing.

The program also will include life skills education and a curriculum that helps people move from a life of addiction to a life of recovery.

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