The Walls Came Down — A Message from the CASS CEO

Nearly thirty-five percent more people are experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County today than two years ago. In downtown Phoenix alone, there are nearly 1,100 people sleeping in tents just outside the walls of the CASS 470-bed shelter.

In response to that crisis, CASS is expanding. By June 1, thanks to funding from the City of Phoenix, we will be adding an additional 130 beds at our adult shelter– bringing the number of adults we can shelter each night from 470 to 600.

But we are not stopping there! Next, we begin long overdue renovations of our client bathrooms which must be gutted and rebuilt. The old bathrooms are very worn down, with broken equipment, and, even worse, they lack sufficient privacy. The new bathrooms will be bright, fresh, and provide the privacy and dignity people deserve.

But there is more! Wanting our shelter to be the best it can be, with the help of experts, we are creating a trauma-informed shelter environment. This is an environment that is warm, welcoming, dignified and safe for people who are in crisis.

Finally, pending funding, other critical shelter renovations will begin in the fall with the goal of completion by year end. These renovations include adding more case management offices to accommodate the additional staff we must hire to serve 600 people; renovating the shelter entryway so our most vulnerable clients (seniors and people with disabilities) can wait indoors when lining up to enter the shelter; building in a resource and client empowerment center; and putting up shade structures and pet runs in the outdoor areas.

CASS’ increase in shelter beds comes at a critical time, as summer begins and the Arizona heat rises to dangerous levels. Last year, nearly 600 people died on the streets of Maricopa County. Never again can we allow that to happen.

 

Lisa Glow, JD
CEO & President

It is only with the support of YOU – our generous community – that we are able to change the lives of so many, and to advance the compassionate community solutions that move us ever closer to our vision:
a community where everyone has a home.