As you may know, we presented our case to the Phoenix Planning Commission on Thursday, January 7th at 6pm. After hours of public comment and discussion, Commission members voted unanimously to support adding shelter beds, but they included a new set of stipulations that we did not agree to nor were we even asked for our response or opinion. We are incredibly disappointed, angry and frustrated by the process.
We did not receive a draft of the proposed new stipulations from Commissioner Justin Johnson until just ten minutes before the hearing began. Then, after months of negotiations with city staff, multiple meetings with community groups and hours of testimony, Commission members simply offered up new stipulations, crafted between Commissioner Johnson and Councilmember Nowakowski, a vocal opponent of our request.
During the public comment section of the hearing, there were 19 people who spoke in favor of our case, and 12 who opposed our request.
While many of the stipulations are problematic, one of the most problematic removes Andre House’s proposed low-barrier shelter from the request. This is a shelter that is of critical need in our community.. Andre House has partnered with Community Bridges Inc., a well-respected local provider of addiction treatment and behavioral health services, to manage and operate the 100 bed shelter that will provide care for some of the most vulnerable people in our community who are traditionally the hardest to serve.
Simply put, under the Planning Commission’s new stipulations, Andre House would not be allowed to open this shelter.
We are incredibly frustrated by the outcome and process of the hearing. This week’s advocacy ask is that you join us in expressing these sentiments with your elected officials. Here’s how:
1. If you live in Phoenix, please click here to look up your councilmember.
2. Once you know your councilmember, please click here for instructions on how to get in touch with them. Please e-mail your council member AND the mayor. Feel free to include any of the following talking points:
a. My name is [name] and I live in District [number]. I am e-mailing to express my disappointment about the outcome of the Planning Commission hearing for Case # Z-SP-2-19-7, the case to add shelter beds.
b. The Planning Commissioners opted out of accepted practices and included additional stipulations without ever consulting the applicant. The applicant worked diligently with City Staff and neighborhood groups for 2 years to agree upon stipulations.
c. The new stipulations limit the ability of the nonprofit organizations to effectively help people end their homelessness. We need a shelter with low barriers to entry for vulnerable people who are not being served.
d. There are over 360 letters of support for this case, over 20,000 petition signatures and over 1,300 signatures from residents in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the Human Services Campus.
e. The Central City Village Planning Committee voted to approve this request 6-3 during their October meeting.
Thank you in advance for your continued support and dedication to our case. We will be sure to keep you posted on our request to bring people #FromStreettoHome.