ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s why a politician who represents Scottsdale opposes city’s homeless hotel program

Sep 14, 2023, 1:00 PM

Independence 47 Hotel, located near Pima and Indian Bend roads, houses those in Scottsdale that are...

Independence 47 Hotel, located near Pima and Indian Bend roads, houses those in Scottsdale that are experiencing homelessness. (Yelp Photo)

(Yelp Photo)

PHOENIX — Rep. Matt Gress doesn’t believe Scottsdale’s homeless hotel program is doing enough to address the issue in the city.

Gress, whose District 4 covers the East Valley city, opposes the idea of mixing individuals experiencing homelessness with guests at the Independence 47 Hotel located near Pima and Indian Bend roads.

The Republican also thinks the program falls short in giving individuals the support needed to break a cycle of homelessness.

“Getting 24/7 wraparound support and services versus warehousing individuals in these hotel rooms next to families on vacation or business travelers, I don’t think that is a recipe for success,” Gress told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

Gress held a hearing with Scottsdale residents on Wednesday regarding the $1 million program with the hope of identifying alternate solutions.

More emphasis on using nonprofits and human services agencies was a long-term strategy supported by Gress.

Individuals who stay at the Scottsdale hotel can reside there for up to a month while looking for long-term housing.

“What we really need to look at again happens to be full, intense wraparound services and an expectation that you can’t live on the streets in city limits here in Arizona,” Gress said.

“You need to get treatment, we need to get you the help you need. Even if you may not know that you need that given, you know, issues related to addiction or mental illness.”

Gress said his biggest concern about Scottsdale’s program is the vetting of those in it.

“I think we have to be very clear-eyed about how we want to go and approach this,” Gress said. “We believe that we need to have compassion and some believe that putting individuals on the streets inside hotel rooms is the compassionate thing to do.

“The data would suggest otherwise it’s enabling and isolating people who need that 24/7 wraparound support and this program falls short of that.”

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Here’s why a politician who represents Scottsdale opposes city’s homeless hotel program