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Mesa moves ahead to end veteran homelessness with shelter’s opening

MESA, Ariz. — The City of Mesa says it is making strides toward ending veteran homelessness.

On Wednesday, several city representatives gathered alongside other community leaders to cut the ribbon on a new homeless shelter near Dobson Road and Main Street.

The opening of the La Mesita Emergency Family Homeless Shelter is the second in a series of three development projects at the location. One section provides affordable housing, another provides permanent supportive housing that will soon be constructed, and then there is La Mesita for temporary shelter.

Mesa Mayor John Giles said the city joined a national effort to end chronic homelessness a few weeks ago and La Mesita will play a role in meeting Mesa’s goal of doing so by the end of the year.

Giles said he wants veterans to know there is help available.

“There are resources for homeless veterans, the City of Mesa and the City of Phoenix both work closely with the Veterans Administration (sic),” he said.

What makes La Mesita truly unique is its 16 fully furnished, apartment-style units, run by A New Leaf.

Torrie Taj, a representative with A New Leaf, said the units make people feel at home even if it’s only for a short period of time.

“It’s not just a place to go, it’s a dignified place to go when you’re homeless and you have children,” she said.

Taj said at the location parents and kids have access to numerous supportive services to help address their issues and work toward more permanent housing.

Whether in need of family-style housing or simply a bed and shelter, Giles said he wants vets in Mesa to get the help they need and the city is ready to help.

“We have vouchers — currently unused vouchers — we have more capacity than folks that we’re helping right now in the homeless veteran’s population,” he said.