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Maricopa County grant money to fund temporary homeless shelter in Phoenix

A homeless woman, who only wanted to be identified as Lala, asks for money on a street corner in midtown Manhattan in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. As bitter winter weather arrived in the Northeast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring the homeless to be forcibly removed from the streets in freezing temperatures, an unprecedented government intervention that faced immediate legal questions and backlash. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

PHOENIX — A temporary homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix is getting financial relief.

The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority is giving the Valley of the Sun United Way $170,000 to operate the temporary shelter at the Human Services Campus on West Jackson Street near 12th Avenue.

The shelter allows up to 500 people to sleep at the Lodestar Day Resource Center and St. Vincent de Paul in the area. The grant will fund the program through June 30, when county general funds will be used to offset operation costs.

“This money helps keep people safe at night on a clean mattress, out of the weather and hopefully will continue to buy us time until we come to a long-term solution,” said Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman.

Hickman said the main shelter does not have the means to deal with all the county’s homeless, making the temporary shelter all the more important. Since May 2015, 5,000 people have used the temporary homeless shelter at one time or another. Many of the homeless are sleeping on mattresses on the floor of the St. Vincent de Paul.

“If we can get to a permanent solution, it would definitely be nice to clear their floors and let them focus on what their true mission is,” Hickman said.

County supervisors are in discussions about the best way to house the county’s homeless on a permanent basis. The $170,000 grant from the Maricopa County IDA for the temporary shelter is being matched by the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority.

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